“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:8-11
I heard a story once about someone’s interesting zoo experience. The man and his family were standing at the fence marveling at the lion exhibit. As they eagerly watched the cat pace back and forth, they noticed an attendant enter the cage through a door on the opposite side. He had nothing in his hands but a broom. Carefully, the attendant closed the door and proceeded to sweep the floor of the cage.
The worker had no weapon to ward off any attack. As he approached the beast the lion hissed at him and proceeded with his pacing. The onlookers were amazed at the bravery of the attendant, for certainly he was taking his life into his own hands! One of the guests exclaimed, “You certainly are a brave man!” The worker replied, “No, I ain’t brave.” A second onlooker yelled out, “Well, then, the lion must be tame.” The attendant answered, “No, he ain’t tame.” “Then why doesn’t he attack you?” asked another. “Mister,” the worker replied, “he’s old, and he ain’t got no teeth.”
Satan paces to and fro on the prowl and longs to destroy us, but we must be careful and alert because his tactics are very subtle. Some of his most productive weapons are his use of pride and self-interest. He knows that when he can get us to focus on ourselves, then we are not focusing on God. When we put faith in man, our faith is not in the One who created man. If he can lead us into temptation and we fall, guilt and shame can rule us causing us to be ineffective and feel unworthy of forgiveness.
A doctor and his wife flew into the jungles of Africa to enjoy some bird-watching and photography. They cuddled up in their tent with a campfire outside. They had been warned to be sure to keep the fire burning all night, or the lions would come near. The fire was blazing when they fell asleep, but as the night passed on the fire went out. It was then, that a lioness stuck her head into the tent and attacked the doctor in front of his wife. If the fire goes out, the lions move in - even in Christians!
Everywhere we turn the enemy’s roaring is loud and convincing. Even God’s people can often be found cowering in fear at the intimidating roar. His roars are an attempt to drown out the voice of God. I would dare to say that all of us have experienced that roar at some point this week. Perhaps even this very moment you are hearing his ferocious roar in your ear. He wants you to feel defeated by your illness, the loss of your job, your financial situation, that broken relationship, or that bad habit you just can‘t kick. But the good news is that when the lion is roaring, he cannot be biting! The scriptures don’t say the lion roams around biting, ripping and tearing. He only “seeks” whom he may attempt to devour. But if we are not careful and alert, a roar is all he needs to rip our lives to shreds.
So how then, do we fight against the evil one? Not only has the writer warned us to be alert, he wants us to be aware of the devil’s schemes, mindful of the danger and realize if we aren’t careful, Satan can gain a swift advantage. We also need to understand that the devil is able to masquerade as an angel of light - we can easily be fooled by him. (2 Cor. 11:14)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 Our true defense is submission to God - placing ourselves under His protection, claiming our place under the shed blood of Christ, fighting evil by the word of our testimony (Rev. 12:11), clothing ourselves with the full armor of our Lord (Eph. 6:11), and taking up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). God is faithful. He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. The Lord will always provide us with a way of escape. (1 Cor. 10:13)
Are you being hissed at today? Is Satan roaring in your ear? The enemy would love nothing more than to make you feel as if you are powerless against his evil schemes. We need to remember, “he ain’t got no teeth” compared to our all-powerful God! If God is for us, who can be against us?