When I was younger my family went to a “wild” animal park in Florida, the kind where you drive through while the animals roam around. All the animals ignored us for the most part; they were used to the steady parade of cars. We drove through the lion’s section, most of whom slept in the sun or lazily watched us passing by. But there was one male lion who didn’t take to kindly to our presence, and as we slowed to get a closer look at him he shook his head, sending his mane spiraling outward and let out a thundering ROAR! We all jumped, my little brother started crying and my dad stepped on the gas. I’ll never forget how my heart pounded in my chest.
Peter says we have an enemy who is like that roaring lion. He is fierce and ferocious and always on the hunt for easy prey. He is ruthless and malicious and will attack without provocation. He hates humankind because he hates God and everything God loves. And he has a particularly fierce hatred for Christians. He stalks believers, pacing back and forth with his menacing demeanor. And he roars. He roars out accusations and threats. He roars out a list of your failures and sins. He roars about what a bad mom you are, that you’re a lousy wife and a hopeless, useless mess. He roars out that God could never love you. He roars out lies.
How should we deal with this roaring lion? In his very next verse Peter tells us exactly what to do. “Resist him, standing firm in the faith,” (2 Peter 5:9) James agrees, saying, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” (James 4:7. Paul tells us to “Stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). Proverbs 28:1 says “The righteous are as bold as a lion,” Friend, when the lion roars, you stand in the righteousness of Christ and roar back the Name of Jesus and the Word of God. You remind the devil that he is a defeated, powerless fool and that his destruction is assured. You declare that “The Lion of Judah” (Rev. 5:5) has already claimed the victory. The devil roars, but that’s all he can do to those who belong to Christ. Don’t tremble. Don’t run. Don’t back down. “A lion . . . retreats before nothing,” Proverbs 30:30. You are a righteous lion. ROAR!
Holy Father, give me the heart of a righteous lion to stand firm before the devil. Help me remember that all he can do to me is roar, because I am sealed by the Holy Spirit in the blood of the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ. Amen.