“Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith.” 1 Peter 5:8-9a
It’s official. We have professional signage and everything. For weeks, the stories have been traveling around like urban legend, sparked by little homemade signs posted all over the place about small dogs gone missing. But a few nights ago, a neighbor just houses away from ours saw it happen in his own backyard. At 2:30 am, a MOUNTAIN LION (caps so you can hear me better) attacked his two small dogs. When he went out to save them, the mountain lion jumped over his 6′ tall fence in one leap. Now we have new signs….
We don’t live near any mountains, so I think someone probably messed up when naming that particular animal. In fact, when we talk about it at our house, I just call it “the lion”. Clay thinks that’s funny. I digress. I have no idea if the explanation I’ve heard is correct, but I’m gonna pass it along anyway. Since we’ve had a drought, hungry and thirsty predators have gotten desperate. They’re looking for water, and finding it in backyard swimming pools. Those same backyards typically contain small pets. Understandably, everyone is taking precautions. Animal Control has been notified and is searching for the lion (as are neighborhood men and teenage boys gone rogue). Our “Only if it stays outside” dog now has a bed indoors. Even friends living 10 minutes away are taking measures to protect their pets.
It’s more than a fantastic story; it’s scary…a hungry lion roaming a neighborhood at night, leaping into fenced yards and feasting on loved pets. We talk about it. We look for it. We understand the danger that lurks about us. We have a healthy fear of it. We do everything we can to guard against it happening in our own backyards. We warn our neighbors to do the same.
And Peter tells us to wake up. There’s an enemy hungrier and more dangerous than the Crystal Forest mountain lion prowling around. He’s here…right in our backyards…in my neighborhood and yours, and, in most cases, he’s having his way. I don’t really give a lot of thought to Satan. I’m not going to go out looking for him. But that doesn’t mean that he’s not looking for me. Am I aware? Am I concerned that he is after my family, friends, and neighbors? Do I take precautions and resist his attacks? Or, since he is unseen, do I let him creep in closely until he is able to whisper lies into my unsuspecting ears?
We’re not powerless, we’re naive and lazy. It’s not enough to sit in church once or twice a week and look up at the sermon passage on the big screen. Paul wrote,
“be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” Eph. 6:10-18
We don’t have to fight; we just have to be ready for the attack and stand firm when it comes. We do that by prayerfully immersing ourselves in God’s presence each day as we cover ourselves with His Word and go about the business of making Him known.
Seriously, think about it – in what ways is Satan targeting you (i.e. fear about ______, apathy, immorality, inactivity, etc.)?
What do you need to do to resist his attack?