We have an enemy.
He's LIKE a lion.
He's not one; but he wants us to think he is.
He wants us to believe he can devour us.
He prowls in such a way, so that we will believe he can totally destroy us...
He roars like he can...
But, he can't.
He's "like" a lion; but, he is not a lion...
Oh, don't get me wrong...he can do plenty of damage.
That's why we are to be watchful.
Psalm 22 gives us a great description of what a roaring lion can do (see verses 13-15):
I am poured out like water;
all my bones feel out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd.
my tongue sticks to my jaws...
That's exactly it.
That's what my enemy, the devil, does to me.
The more he roars his lies at me, the more believable he seems.
It's a mental game he plays...
...But, it's a serious game - there's really no "play" in it.
Well, no play for anyone except for my/our adversary - he's totally in it for the fun of seeing me squirm in misery.
This is his modus operandi:
He corners us, and he dances in delight.
His roaring causes us to fight, freeze, or to flee.
Typically, I freeze.
But, the older I get, the more I am preferring to face my enemy and fight back.
It makes me angry that he can have such power with just a roar.
I believe that's what Peter is hoping for in 1 Peter 5:5-11:
Anger at the enemy!
Yep, Peter desires for us to respond with righteous anger.
Righteous anger is not wrong anger.
We MUST make sure we deal with it rightly.
In your anger, do not sin...
So, just as Jesus got angry with the tax collectors and took a stand against them, Peter tells us to stand firm against our enemy...
Resist him, firm in your faith...
1 Peter 5:9
We won't resists him as long as he scares the snot out of us.
James, the brother of Jesus, concurs with Peter.
Resist the devil...
Resist: to push back; stand up against; stand firm against; express opposition through action and words; refuse to comply.
Truly, this adversary is powerful.
Lions can swat a man's head off with just one swipe of a paw.
Not sure I want to stay standing in the path of, or anywhere near, even one like-a-lion-who-is-not-a-lion.
Thankfully, Peter and James give us a plan of action.
Add four teaspoons of "resist" to our weed-killer for anxiety:
1. Submit to the Lord (James 4:7a). I humble myself under God's mighty providential hand. I put myself under obedience to the Lord my God. I give up control. I yield to God's will, His way.
2. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8a). I boldly come before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) - because there, and only there, will I find HELP for my time of need.
3. Cleanse your hands, you sinners (James 4:8b). I confess my sins, agreeing with the Lord that my heart is impure. I then live in the truth of 1 John 1:9 and Isaiah 1:16-19.
4. Be steadfast in faith (1 Peter 5:9). Be immovable in what you believe. Stand up and declare it to the enemy. Rehearse the faithfulness of God, not just to yourself, but to your adversary. Remind that devil he is already defeated. He's already been bound, and is on his way to slaughter. He may seem scary, but he is an overcome-defeated-foe (Colossians 2:15).
Add these things to that weed-killer we've been mixing...and the outcome is guaranteed.
Our enemy, the devil, who prowls LIKE a roaring lion that is seeking to devour something (or someone), will TURN TAIL AND RUN.
He will vanish.
He will FEAR US.
That description of Psalm 22:14-15? Instead of defining me, now, it will describe him.
He will attempt to be saved FROM ME - to escape ME, safely out of danger.
This isn't just words.
This is God's TRUTH for ALL OF US - a promise of HOPE.
God's Truth will fight for me.
He will fight for me.
How do I vanquish this enemy who seeks to intimidate me with anxiety?
I give absolutely NO OPPORTUNITY to the devil (Eph 4:27).
I get mad.
I take a stand.
I face him, looking him squarely in the eyes, and...
I LIVE RESIST!