I got a bit of a surprise this morning when I stopped to fill my car with gasoline. It unfolded something like this…
Last week, I told you about the passing of my mother-in-law, and I am grateful to those who expressed your loving comfort and condolences.
While I was in Kansas for slightly more than a week, comforting my wife and assisting with funeral arrangements, my car sat idle on the driveway in Washington. When I returned home, I drove it for another week, because it had a nearly-full tank of gas. That constitutes at least two full weeks of not opening the door to the gas cap.
I go to work quite early, so this morning’s stop for gas occurred at 4:00 am. I am pretty much on auto-pilot at four in the morning. As I robotically reached out and flipped open the door to the gas cap I was startled to find that wasps were nesting inside the gas inlet area. I’m certain you’ll agree that this was completely unexpected, and it instantly moved me from my typical, lethargic morning stupor to full alert.
Fortunately, I was able to remove the wasps from my gas inlet area without any personal injury, but had it gone differently, it could have been a very nasty encounter.
Far more dangerous than my slumberous encounter with the wasps this morning is our lack of alertness to the activities of the devil. Make no mistake, you are being hunted, as am I. He is the hunter and we are the prey.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8, ESV
Close your eyes for just a moment, and picture a lion on the prowl, hunting. Perhaps you can recall Marlin Perkins from the 1960s – 70s episodes of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Repeatedly, we saw the drama unfold on the screen – the hunted and the hunter.
The lion, silently, imperceptibly stalks its prey, unleashing its roar only when the lion knows the prey is in range, and it has begun the final charge. The roar has a paralyzing effect on we victims, leaving us helpless before the charge of our attacker.
Remember the silent, cunning serpent, from Genesis 3:1. We do not hear a snake coming, and typically do not know it is there unless we happen to see it or until it has punctured our ankle.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3, ESV
Just as I did not expect to find wasps nesting inside the gasoline door to my car, we do not walk through life with the constant awareness that we are being hunted. But we should! That is why Peter began his warning above by saying, “Be sober-minded; be watchful.“
I am not calling you to be afraid, but rather alert. The thing that makes Satan dangerous is not his power, but rather his deceptiveness. If we are watchful, we can be confident. But if we are spiritually lazy or lackadaisical, we put ourselves in peril.
Immediately on the heels of calling us to watchfulness, Peter says this:
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. – 1 Peter 5:9, ESV
Satan can be resisted if we are alert to his schemes. The apostle Paul echoed the sentiment in his letter to the Ephesian believers.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12, ESV
James also agrees.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7, ESV
Do not be afraid, but be alert. Stand firm, resist the adversary, and one day we will see each other on the other side.