My Dad used to love, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” show. We would sit as a family and watch the world of wild animals come to life. Some of the difficult parts were when the lions or other aggressive animals went on the hunt, searching for their meal! They were always sneaking around behind the shrubs, or whatever was there to camouflage them, watching their prey, waiting and watching for the perfect moment, then they would jump out, ATTACK! and proceed to rip the animals apart, many times, feasting on them with the attacked animal still alive – AWFUL! That, however, is the way animals were created – they have an instinct for survival and it is survival of the fittest.
I Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This morning, when I read this, it reminded me of the scene above. I could imagine the devil acting just like the lion, sneaking around, watching and waiting for the perfect time to ATTACK! If he catches us, he takes delight in ripping us apart and devouring us, turning our lives into mush, destroying our minds, making us feel like we are epic failures, unable to get back to what God created us to be.
The verse tells us to be, “self-controlled and alert.” How do we do that? Certainly not on our own – just like the unsuspecting animals, or the babies that wandered too far away from their mama’s in the show, just a bit of lack of attention to what is important, and we will be swept away by the predator! Verse 9 says, “Resist him, (the devil,) standing firm in the faith.” Regular contact with God – reading the Word, praying earnestly, surrounding yourself with those who will encourage you and build you up, going to Bible studies and church are just a few of the ways to resist the devil. Listening to positive music and keeping yourself away from places or people who are ready and willing to take you down with them are some more – the list is endless, if you put your mind to it. RESIST! Stand firm! God will give each of us what we need for every prowler or attack.
Self-control is a tough one. It requires action and determination. Most of the time it means to do things that are difficult and that require work. It is much easier to just blow off steam, to say whatever you are feeling at the moment, to act the way you feel, instead of the way that would make God proud of you. For some of us, this will be a life-long area of work!
So beware of what is out there waiting for you, then live your life accordingly. I leave you with a few more verses:
7Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you.
27… don’t give the devil a chance.
1 Peter 5:8 (CEV)
8Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.
11Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. 14Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. 15Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.