Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Do you know how I know I am on the right track with God and He is working out something big? My day is a mess and full of stress!
Yep, it’s true. When I find myself harried by work – a slow system, a broken server, an update that causes more work. When I find myself attacked by people – being proclaimed a troublemaker without any conversation or clarity, finding out I was lied to about blame for a chaotic situation, being around people who pretend pain never happened. When I find myself delayed to a destination – by an accidental traffic violation, catching every red light, big trucks moving slowly and being unable to pass, an inaccurate GPS. All this happened in one day, making me want to stand up and rage in frustration.
Sometimes I am smart enough to see the situation (day) for what it is and pause. And in the stillness, I can remember God is working. I can praise God for health and safety. I can see God’s goodness in action. And I can laugh in gratitude for God’s amazing grace.
For the devil tried to get me.
He tried to stop me from walking forward in God’s great purposes.
He tried to discourage me from knowing God’s goodness.
He tried to push me away from experiencing God’s grace.
He is a lion in the bush, crouched down and waiting to pounce.
He keeps a careful and steady eye on me. Watching my every move. Looking for any opportunity to come after me. Unblinking. Unmoving. Unflinching. Waiting for me. To open any door even a crack so he can come in.
Feeling good about myself? Here is some anger, some offense, some pain.
Feeling confident about myself? Here is some doubt, some fear, some shame.
Feeling content about myself? Here is some confusion, some condemnation, some chaos.
Because whatever goodness I am experiencing, he wants to wipe that out, erase it completely, and refocus me on something else.
And so he waits, patiently and persistently, as a hungry lioness on the prowl. Crouched low and poised to strike. His bag of tricks and deceit ready to go at a moment’s notice. A determined focus on my every action and reaction.
He is ready.
He is steady.
And he waits for me to not be either.
Because any chance I give him he is going to take. At home. At work. In the car. In the store. With a group. By myself.
Any chance is a good one for him. So he waits.
And Jesus knew this. That’s why He warned us to be constantly on guard with our actions, our words, and our thoughts. To pay attention to everything we think, do, say, want, and react to. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Because when we don’t, we could quickly and easily fall prey to the lion in waiting.
Because you might not be as ready as you think.
Because you might not be as strong as you think.
Because you might not be as sure as you think.
And you could be vulnerable to suggestion.
You could be available to persuasion.
You could be susceptible to deception.
And thus you are a target, easily spotted and then preyed upon.
And he will immediately throw things at you that cause you to question God’s love. To overlook God’s goodness. To dismiss God’s grace.
I don’t know about you, but I hate knowing there is a target on my back. That I am always being watched.
But wait – NO! No, I will not be effected this way. Because I remember Whose I am.
Yes, the lion is waiting. He wants to thwart me with his “wiles” (Ephesians 6:11) and “fiery darts” (Ephesians 6:16). He wants to fill me with dissatisfaction, focus me on dissension, and fool me with deception.
But he is not the only one watching!
God is watching me, too. The Good Shepherd (John 10:11) standing guard against lions.
And God is cheering me on. He is encouraging me to choose love and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), especially when I don’t want to. He is encouraging me to choose “kindness, humility, meekness” (Colossians 3:12), no matter what is happening around me. He is encourage me to hold onto hope, for “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5), even when things don’t make sense to me.
So two beings watching me, knowing my eternity is at stake. One watches me waiting to deceive and destroy, hoping to pounce on any weakness. But God watches me with love and support with full encouragement and extraordinary grace. One is called “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44) by Jesus. Because all he can do is distract and unfocus. But God reminds us over and over that He “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself” (Ephesians 1:5). Because we are cherished and chosen by the One in whom is no deceit (Numbers 23:19).
So I look at my day and shake my head. It was full of nonsense. The enemy pounced repeatedly. But I am still standing, laughing at him. Because I realize that though the lion charged, he didn’t destroy. He couldn’t, because God was protecting me from severe damage (Psalm 91:11-12).
So the lion slinks off, his attempts to stop me thwarted. We both go off to lick our wounds, though mine are quickly soothed by God’s healing grace.
And I climb into bed thankful for the power and victory of “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), who helped me live to fight – and win – another day. His roar of love over me empowers me to not focus on or be frustrated by the lion in the darkness. Because just as Samson and David defeated a lion, so too will I. Jesus has given us great power – resurrection, eternal, victorious power – through which “You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot” (Psalm 91:13).
And by His great grace the enemy’s mess will never overcome my Messiah!
Marie Fremin. 9/16, 9/17, and 9/23/17