Jump Start # 2469
1 Peter 5:8 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
In our verse today, Peter pulls the cover back to identify our enemy. He tells us three things about Satan.
First, he is our adversary. He is our opponent. He is our enemy. Don’t try to compromise with Satan. Don’t try to be friends with Satan. He cannot be trusted. He is not good. Peter likens the devil to a lion, the king of the jungle. Powerful, fast, smart and dangerous—that’s lions and that’s Satan. He doesn’t care how hard you are trying. He doesn’t care that others are counting on you. He doesn’t care how difficult your journey is. He doesn’t care that you are weary, struggling and having a bad day. He doesn’t care that he has already chased you once today. He simply doesn’t care.
Second, Peter reveals Satan’s style. He prowls about. He is here and there. He is not stationary. He is not locked behind a cage, as lions are in the zoo. He’s not found only in Africa, as lions are. He’s everywhere. He’s at work before you get there. He’s waiting for you when you get home in the evening. He walks the hallways of the high school. He sits in the college classroom. He’s at the movie theatre, the ballgame, and even in the church building. He’s everywhere.
Third, Peter reveals Satan’s purpose. He wants to devour someone. Anyone. You. Me. All of us. He will feed you lies. He will use people to distract and confuse you. He will send encouragement and opportunity to do wrong. He has many tactics and weapons. He’ll use lust. He’ll throw some discouragement your way. He knows when you are alone. He knows when you are stressed. He wants to destroy you. When a lion devours an antelope, there’s not much left of Mr. Antelope. Satan will trash your marriage, your reputation, your health and even try to wreck the church. All of these are just ways of pulling the rug from under you so you will fall. He wants you to fail spiritually. Satan doesn’t go by the rules. Satan isn’t nice, fair, nor kind. He has no problem seeing your children hurt, scared and lost. He’ll throw in a good ole’ fashioned church fight to get people upset and mad at each other.
Satan knows you. He knows when you are alone. He knows when you are tired. He knows just the right buttons to push. He knows what tempts you the most. He will put things before your eyes. He will have you listening to thoughts that are tailored just for your temptation.
In many ways, what Peter is describing for us is a journey through lion country. There are no cages to keep the lions contained. There are no safety nets to protect us. This is not a theme park or an adventure. This is life. It’s dangerous. It’s treacherous. It’s full of eyes looking at you. The wrong step, the wrong path could lead to certain death. And, there is no getting around this. There is no just going home and shutting my door where I will be safe. This is the journey that we are on. How then can we pass through lion country safely?
First, we must keep our eyes open. Our verse says, “Be alert.” Don’t walk through life half asleep. Don’t be naïve. Pay attention. All around us are subtle messages, used to change our thinking and to lower our guards. In picture books made for little children, one can find evolutionary teachings. TV programs try to get us to accept that fornication is ok, same sex relationships are normal, and that drinking alcohol is harmless. Music pounds thoughts into our minds. Movies shape our attitudes. Even commercials can be ways to change our thinking. Popular religious books drip with false teaching. It’s there. Many do not see it. Be alert. All around you, Satan has dropped little traps to get you. Do you see them? Do you recognize them?
Second, resist the devil. This is what James tells us. Resist and he’ll flee. He’ll be back, but for the moment, he’ll leave you. Resist by standing with God. Resist by knowing your Bible. Resist by filling your mind and your day with good things. Resist by digging your heels in and saying, “No.” Everyone around you is saying, “Yes,” but you. You are different. You are going a different direction. You are saying, “No.” Put up a fight. Don’t be afraid to turn that TV off, because there is nothing decent on to watch. Don’t be afraid to be the only one at a conference who is not drinking alcohol. Don’t be afraid to be classified as old fashioned because you won’t flirt around with others you are not married to. Resist. Put up a fight.
Third, you find shelter in the Lord. Within this lion passage in Peter, we find, “casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (v. 7) and, God will “strengthen” you (v. 10). On your own, you won’t make it. Come up with your own plan, you’ll likely fail. But sticking close to God, following His way, filling your heart with His word, you’ll make it through. He cares for you. He wants you to make it safely. Talk to the Lord in prayer. Listen to the Lord as you read His word. Rather than keeping up with the world, try to keep up with the Lord. You’ll make it safely through lion country. Daniel was safe in the lion’s den because of the Lord. You will be safe in lion country because of the Lord.
Someday, we will be out of this place and Satan won’t bother us anymore. Where we are going, he is not allowed in. Where we are going, we will be safe.
Satan is with you, but so is the Lord. And, the Lord is greater than Satan. Stick with the Lord and you’ll be fine. Follow God and He’ll get you out of this crazy world.