Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:6-11
We saw him on the way out of the Serengeti National Wildlife Park in Tanzania. He was nestled in a pocket of brush along side the road. We saw him only because our guide pointed him out. He was neither prowling nor roaring. Had he been, we would certainly have seen him, taken note, and exercised extreme caution. I’m guessing a roaring lion prowling about is far more dangerous than a docile lion passing the hours in the shade.
The same is true regarding sin and temptation. Roaring and prowling temptations are dangerous indeed. Look at me! Taste this forbidden fruit! Enjoy these prohibited pleasures! Join in these ungodly activities. Cheat on your wife. Gossip about your husband. Pad your expense account. Lie about your co-worker. Watch that video. Go along with the crowd. All these will ensnare you. They will bring you down. They lead to death.
More subtle dangers lurk along life’s way as well. They are the more dangerous because we don’t see them until it’s too late. The late-afternoon work session that goes on into the evening suddenly becomes a temptation to a seemingly-harmless emotional connection that leads to a full-blown affair. A lax verification process opens the door to undue reimbursements. Subtle temptations too easily lead to dramatic falls. Like stepping into a hidden pothole, hidden temptations can cause grave spiritual injury.
It is vital we recognize and be on guard against all kinds of evil that Satan would inflict on us. Whether roaring or lurking, Satan’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. Thank God we have Jesus’ promise of strength, the Holy Spirit’s power, and the Word’s truth to fight against the schemes of the evil one. This calls for humility; no hubris about our ability to withstand temptation (like Peter). Humble reliance on God and the Holy Spirit and Word are our greatest help in this vigilance…keeping our eyes on Jesus.