Resisting the Lion

Be self-controlled and alert. Our 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. –1 Peter 5:8-9

In our time, not many people have had the experience of being chased or attacked by a lion. But some years ago, Anne Hjelle experienced the horror of being attacked by a mountain lion while riding a bicycle in California’s Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County. According to news reports, she “knew immediately what it was. He grabbed my shoulders with his claws and attached his jaws to the back of my neck.” Fortunately, Hjelle survived the attack, and spent weeks in a hospital due to the wounds the lion inflicted to her neck and face.

I’m quite sure that Anne Hjelle has a very vivid understanding of today’s Scripture! Certainly, we all are aware that in the wild, lions are dangerous animals. Yet, these days, lions are largely relegated to zoos or wildlife preserves and lion attacks on people — in the wild — are rare. As a result, we have lost to a large degree, the sense of danger that the Apostle Peter was trying to express to Christ-followers in his ‘devil as lion’ analogy. According to Peter, Satan means to chase you down and destroy you, if possible.

The danger is real. Peter refers to the devil’s tactics as sufferings. But, Peter did not want Christ-followers to hide, cower in fear, or run away because of the threat. Rather, he explained to his readers, that Christ-followers are to stand firm and resist the devil. The Apostle Paul explained to the church in Ephesus that we take our stand against the devil by putting on the full armor of God. The protective armor includes faith, God’s Word, and prayer (see Ephesians 6:13-18 for the entire list.)

While the devil is a real foe, it’s important to remember that he is already defeated. His destruction, in the end, is certain — guaranteed by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Just as certain for Christ-followers is our own ultimate victory! And, in the meantime, while the battle still rages on, we have been told that if we stand firm and resist Satan, he will flee from us.

Today, be alert to the schemes the devil may use to attempt to harm you. Take his prowling seriously. Put on your armor. Stand firm. Resist. If you do so, you’ll find that you are victorious in whatever battle he brings your way.

GOING DEEPER:
1. What area or areas of your life do you think you are most vulnerable to an attack from the devil?

2. What action can you take today to resist the devil — to guard the vulnerable area or areas of your life?

FURTHER READING:
Ephesians 6:10-18; James 4:7; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 20:10

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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