I had just pulled into the driveway after a long day at the church. It was late and I was tired. Walking toward the mailbox to get the day’s mail I happened to notice a large shadow moving near the house across the street. Looking closer I realized the dark shadow was actually a large black bear. I decided the mail could wait!
Captivated by the sight, and contrary to the protests of my wife urging me to come inside, I stood there and watched as the bear meandered around. He walked through yards, up driveways and walkways, and down the street. Several dumpsters were set out awaiting the next morning’s trash pickup, so the bear might have been looking for supper. (Note to self: running through Bella Terra at night is not a good idea!)
The apostle Peter told us to be on the lookout, not for a wandering bear, but for a roaming, roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). My experience the other night was confirmation that the Bella Terra bear is real. So is the roaming, roaring lion.
He has many names, all with diabolical meanings. The most common are satan (adversary), and devil (accuser). While a supernatural being, Satan is not God’s equal. He is a fallen angel who made the foolish and fatal mistake to rebel against God. As the prince of this world (John 12:31), Satan rules a dark kingdom of demonic spirits who do his evil bidding (Eph. 6:12).
Along with being compared to a serpent and a dragon, Peter likened Satan to a roaming, roaring lion that seeks to devour. There’s a hungry lion on the loose, so we better head for the hills! We better run inside and look the doors. No, that isn’t the strategy given in the Bible.
Peter said, “resist him” (1 Peter 5:9). That’s it? Yes. “Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” In Florida we are familiar with the phrase “stand your ground.” This is the biblical strategy given in our dealings with the devil. Stand firm. Stand sure. Do not run. Do not yield. James agrees, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Paul offers the same battle strategy in Ephesians 6 - the spiritual warfare chapter of the New Testament. Four times in vv10-18, Paul tells us to stand. But we must be careful not to stand against the enemy in our own strength. Remember the seven sons of Sceva? (Acts 19:14-16) Paul was quick to say, ”Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
We are no match for the devil. But be encouraged. The devil is no match for Jesus! Stay strong in the Lord. Stay submitted to the Lord. Stay steadfast in the faith. Stand your ground in Christ, and watch the lion run!
Pastor Todd Weston