I was reading chapter five of 1 Peter today. And verse 8 jumped out at me.
Here's 1 Peter 5:8 "Be self-controlled and alert. your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
I don't have a lot of experience with lions. I saw the circus as a kid, and I think I remember lions being a part of it. I've been to the zoo. Actually, I was at a zoo just a couple years ago and I saw some lions there. But most of my experience with lions is all wrapped up in the Lion King. I've seem that animated classic dozens of times.
However, I suspect there's more to this lion business than the film lets on.
I grew up in an area that has a high population of Mountain Lions, or cougars as they are known locally. I've never come face to face with one because the generally leave people alone. Sightings, and attacks on people, are becoming more common. Now and then you hear of a good man versus cougar story. There was an older gentleman who, when attacked by a cougar, fought it off with his pocket knife. He was badly injured, but was able to appear on the 6 o'clock news from his hospital bed to show off his favourite pocket knife.
There was another story of a woman out camping with her family when a cougar attacked one of her children. The story goes that she grabbed a cooler and began beating the cat with it. The cougar ran off and the child suffered no long lasting effect.
These are great stories of man triumphing over large Feline.
We were taught as kids that if you spot a mountain lion, it's been watching you for a long time, but if you make yourself really big, stare it down, and show no fear, you can scare it away. Mountain Lions, so I understand, are chicken.
I am uncertain if the same thing goes for the non-mountainous lion.
I don't know why, after reading this verse many, many times, this image of the Devil being like a lion stood out to me, but as I read it my mind immediately diverted to another lionly image in Christianity: Jesus.
Sometimes Jesus is called "The Lion of Judah" with Biblical support for this name coming out of Revelation 5:5.
And it occurred to me that we are living in this world with two lions--one ruling bringing life and justice and redemption, and one fighting bringing death and destruction.
But that isn't Peter's point in calling the devil out.
In verse nine he tells us to "Resist him, standing firm in the faith"
He is resistible. We can overcome.
I think that if I were staring down a roaring lion I would be filled with a bowel moving fear that causes one to forget all sorts of survival tactics. Meaning, I would poop myself and run. Which is the exact opposite of what to do in the moments before a mountain lion attack.
Yet Peter is telling his readers to stand firm in the faith--that holding onto ones faith is overcoming this lion-like devil.
Hold on to your faith in the midst of the devil's opposition.
Hold on to your faith.
Grab that cooler.
Clutch your trusty pocket knife.
He may be like a lion, but, so what, lions can be overcome.