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 the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9
Picture the scene in your mind. A lone gazelle munches on grass on the African plain. Little does it know that a hungry lion is watching its every move, waiting . . . looking for the perfect opportunity to pounce. If only the gazelle knew what was coming!
A lion’s hunting technique is not all that complicated. It watches the herd and waits for one of the animals to be separated from the group. It looks for the very young and the very old. It waits for the sick or the injured–any animal that is vulnerable–and then, at the most opportune moment, attacks and maims and devours.
If you could yell a word of warning to that unsuspecting gazelle, what would you say? Look out for the lion! Be on guard! Run! This is what the apostle Peter is trying to tell us. You and I are the prey. The devil wants to destroy us. He wants to drag us with him to hell. If we are oblivious to the fact that we are in a life and death struggle, we will no doubt lose.
Satan wants to end your spiritual life. He will attack when you are most vulnerable. At times when you are hurting and lonely he will come after you. He will try to isolate you. He will try to make you question God’s existence, let alone his love and concern for you. Be aware of his tactics.
But you are not left alone in your struggle. You have the support of a loving God and a caring group of other “gazelles” called “the Church”. Peter writes, “You know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Each one of us goes through ups and downs and the struggles of life, but we don’t have to do it alone. God brings people together in local congregations for support and protection against the attacks of the devil. In these churches God’s Word is taught and God’s people are equipped to resist and withstand the attacks of Satan.
The devil doesn’t want you to know that he has already been defeated. The truth is that Jesus by his sacrifice on the cross crushed the devil. He took our sin and weakness on himself. He gave his life to save ours. Three days later, when Jesus rose from the dead, the devil, that roaring lion, was defeated and put on a leash. Don’t be mistaken. The devil is still dangerous, so be on the lookout. But with Christ’s power you can stand against him.
Prayer: Lord, I know the devil wants to hurt me, so keep me vigilant in my life. Help me identify his tactics of trying to separate me from you. Continue to support me through the teaching and preaching of your Word as I regularly gather together with other Christians. Amen.