8th October 2011

A Real And Present Danger

“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, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”
1 Peter 5:8-9 (KJV)

For centuries, the lion has been used a symbol of power and strength. He is feared the world over, but not in the local zoo. We can even get quite close to a lion in the safe confines of a zoo, without experiencing any sense of danger whatsoever.

As we gaze at the stately lion through the almost invisible steel mesh of the lion enclosure, we might stand in awe of his mighty frame, his huge head and strong jaw. We may admire his powerful leg muscles. If we’re lucky, we may even hear his loud and fearsome roar. But we are not afraid of him because he is trapped inside a zoo cage.

In the above Bible passage, the apostle Peter describes our adversary as “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” But do we actually see him in this way? Is he a real and present danger to us, or someone we merely read about in scripture; a character trapped within the pages of the Bible?

Peter warns us that such is not the case. He is a very real threat to us and we must be on our guard at all times. “Be sober, be vigilant…” he tells us (verse 8).

But then Peter goes on to show us that Satan can be resisted if we remain strong “in the faith” (verse 9). Our faith becomes our strength and our means of defence. Peter encourages us to take comfort in the fact that “the same afflictions” are suffered by our fellow believers (verse 9), so we are not alone in our struggle. Besides, there is another, far more powerful lion, mentioned in the Bible, a reference to Jesus, the promised Messiah, who is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). Jesus has already prevailed against our foe and gives us victory now, through our faith in him.

Heavenly Father, we know that this world is a dangerous place and that we can expect to face trials and difficulties as we seek to do the work of proclaiming the Gospel of your Son, Jesus. Help us to remain steadfast in our faith in him, which is both our strength and shield, and to continue to support and encourage one another in the hope that lies ahead.

Study by Richard Dempsey

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