There are certain places in the world that I don’t care to go. Most of those places involve coming face to face with animals that would find great pleasure in eating me. Swimming with sharks in South Africa – no thanks. Camping in the backcountry somewhere in the Rockies – I’d rather not. Taking a leisurely stroll through the Serengeti – not on your life. It isn’t that I’m afraid of dying – I’m just not a fan of getting there through the mouth of a hungry predator. I assume that this sentiment is shared by most.
Of all the descriptions of Satan given to us in the Scripture, it is the image of a hungry predator that Peter uses to describe Satan that is perhaps the most frightening to me. He said in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I’ve watched enough wildlife shows on PBS and Discovery to know how this goes down. The lion lurks in the tall grass, carefully screening the herd of wildebeest, picking out his victim – usually a weak, young, or otherwise compromised animal. Then he springs forth from his hiding spot, taking down his victim.
If this portrait of Satan doesn’t cause you alarm, then you probably don’t take spiritual warfare too seriously. The difference between a hungry devil and a hungry lion, however, is important. A weak wildebeest is really nothing more than a lion snack. The Christian has got a little more going for him. First, you are aware of his tactics. 2 Corinthians 2:11 says “we are not unaware of the devil’s schemes.” We know his strategy, and if you’re paying attention and sober-minded, then you won’t get caught. Secondly, the Devil isn’t quiet. Peter says he is like a “roaring lion.” A discerning Christian can hear Satan approaching and can accurately diagnose his activity. Thirdly, we can resist him. We don’t have to be devoured. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee.” Paul said in Ephesians 6 that we must protect ourselves with the armor of God in order that we might stand against the Devil’s schemes.
If we know we’re being hunted and we take seriously the predator, then we certainly behave differently. Let us put our sin to death – removing those things that keep us out of focus – and stand united against the schemes of the Devil