Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith…. —1 Peter 5:8
In 1898, a railroad spanning the Great Rift Valley from Kenya to Uganda was under construction. There were thousands of people involved in the construction and there were many campsites. Workers began disappearing and it was soon discovered that there were two man-eating Tsavo lions in the area. These lions wreaked havoc for nine months, killing many people and instilling fear in thousands of workers. The lions would hit different camps stretched along the railway to kill and maim. Traps were set but to no avail. The workers made thorn hedges around the camp and lit fires to scare them off, but the lions aggressively leaped over or crawled through the thorn fences. They would seize men from their tents and drag them out into the bush where they were heard at times crunching bones and purring contentedly. Imagine the fear of walking in the darkness, knowing that a man-eating lion was hiding in the bush nearby.
The lions would be heard roaring in the vicinity of one of the camps and word would rapidly spread from camp to camp: “Beware brothers, the devil is coming!” An agonizing shriek would be heard and one less person would show up to work in the morning. After many lives were lost, the lions were eventually killed.
The apostle Peter warns us to be sober and vigilant knowing that the devil is as a roaring lion. The devil, just as the Tsavo lions, is trying to instill fear in the lives of Christians and is doing all he can to kill, steal, and destroy our spiritual lives. It is vital that we be watchful and observant that we might see the areas in which the devil is working. He is trying to steal our joy, peace, and unity. He wants us to be isolated from God’s people, away from those that can help strengthen and support us.
The enemy is fighting on many different fronts and is aggressively attacking the saints. He is no respecter of persons. If you are living for God, he desires to make you a victim—a casualty in this spiritual warfare. The enemy is attacking people in their personal lives; he is attacking marriages, families, and congregations. Let us open our eyes and recognize the true enemy. It is not time to sleep or to cower at his attacks. Resist him steadfast in the faith!
Jesus told His disciples to “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). We are still in the flesh and prone to temptation while we live on this earth. We are not yet in Heaven, so we must be watchful and prayerful lest we lose our way and return to the world. Prayer is a weapon that will enable us to overcome the attacks of the enemy. The flesh is very weak and a desire for God alone is not enough to protect us from the power of the enemy. We must be on guard and continually seek grace and power from the Lord.
Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31-32, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” It is still true today that Satan desires to have YOU. Jesus is praying for you and is interceding for you at the right hand of God. The good news is that the power of God is greater than the power of the devil. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). If you will daily stand with God, He will defend and protect you and make a way for you to overcome the power of the devil, but you must remain watchful and be careful in your choices and decisions in life. Be wise and do not put yourself in harm’s way. Stay close to the Lord and maintain a personal environment that will enhance your relationship with God. The light of God’s Word will expose the enemy. God will make a way to escape every temptation and make a way through every valley and over every mountain that the enemy brings.
While we must be careful, we need not live in fear of the enemy when the power of Christ rests upon us. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:17-19). You can and will overcome the attacks of the enemy as you maintain your faith and trust in the power of Jesus Christ. While the battle wages on, and we must continue resisting the devil steadfast in the faith, there is great security in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It is all sufficient to see us safely home to Heaven.