“your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8
I held the flash card up where the whole class could see. A small ship was fighting its way through a treacherous sea. The terrified sailors were lifting a man above the rail, preparing to throw him into the angry waves.
“What happened to Jonah when he disobeyed God?”
Andy’s hand shot up in the air as soon as I asked the question. “He got eaten.”
I nodded and flipped the card to the next picture. A huge whale was swallowing the prophet. Then I asked the class, “What happens when we disobey God?”
“We get eaten,” came Andy’s loud answer from the back of the room.
“Not exactly.” I fought hard to stifle my laughter. People don’t get eaten when they disobey God. Jonah was a special case. I spent the next five minutes trying to fix this misunderstanding.
I was still giggling about Andy’s answer when I finally made it home from school. It wasn’t until later that evening, while reading 1 Peter 5:8, that I realized that there was some truth in Andy’s answer.
The verse talks about a lion, waiting to devour us – to eat us. I could easily picture the lion, stalking its prey. He crouched low in the grass, waiting for the sick, old or unobservant to come too close. At first glance, the field looked harmless, but an unsuspecting animal would become a feast in the waiting claws of the big cat. For the prey, it would pay to be observant.
I read the verse again. Andy’s words – “We get eaten” – rang in my ears. The devil is waiting for us, just like that lion. He wants us to stop looking around, to forget that we should pay attention. He is waiting for us to disobey God, to put ourselves in danger. In short, he is waiting to eat us alive.
The thought of personally being prey to a hungry lion was not comforting. I had to admit, I hadn’t been as observant as I needed to be. Sure, I wasn’t involved in any huge sins, like murder or adultery, but there were areas of my personal life where I was being careless. My prayer and devotional times could be hit-or-miss. I often sported a bad attitude about certain people or events. My competitive nature and selfish spirit had built a wall between me and my brother. I squandered time in cheap entertainment and was lazy in my study habits. In short, I was taking the easiest way possible, while still maintaining the look of a perfect Christian. By my disobedience, in wanting my own way, I was wandering close to the lion, giving him opportunity to devour me.
I knelt by my bed, confessing my secret sins to the Lord. I thanked Him for Andy’s words in class. I prayed that God would open my eyes to the dangers around me and protect me for the fierce spiritual predator.
The devil is a lion. I am the prey. It would pay for me to be observant. After all, I don’t want to get eaten!
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