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Victory Over the Roaring Lion

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

One thing I have often heard emphasized about this verse is the fact that it describes our enemy as “like a roaring lion”. It does not say that he is a roaring lion but he sure can act like one. In preparation for this message I asked my 4-year-old son, Evan, to roar like a roaring lion. With much excitement he of course executed my request and began roaring at the top of his lungs while making what he believed to be intimidating facial expressions and gestures. He kept going for as long as he could and two things happened of note; 1. My one-year old son, Aaron, began to cower and migrate to my lap in fear, and 2. My 6’4 husband, Will, told Evan to stop yelling by saying, “Okay Evan that is enough.” Evan, obeying, stopped his roaring and lion like gestures.

Wow, how many times have we heard the roar of our spiritual enemy and had the reaction of my one year old instead of the reaction of my husband? One was intimidated, alarmed, and fearful; while the other was calm, not moved, and authoritative. For the believer, the second reaction is the victory God wants us to walk in throughout every roar that comes our way. However, like my unsuspecting baby boy Aaron, we can find ourselves caught off guard, alarmed, and overwhelmed with fear. So how do we live abundantly, victoriously, and in our God given authority?

1. Be Alert and of Sober Mind. We need to know what a roar from the enemy sounds like. Will knew what a roar from Evan sounded like and knew that he was not hearing the roar of a real lion. Therefore, Will knew his role and authority in the situation. The bible describes the devil, Satan, our enemy in the following ways:

Revelation 12:9-10 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray…. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

So a roar from an accuser, deceitful, liar enemy with a desire to keep people blinded to the Gospel of truth in the message of Jesus Christ could sound something like:

A Threat: “If you step out to do that, I will expose all your dirty secrets and nobody will ever trust you.”

A Lie: “The road ahead is too difficult you should give up now.”; “This wouldn’t be happening if God really loved you.”

An Accusation: Look at all your failures; God is disgusted with you.”; “God may have forgiven you but He still hasn’t forgotten what you did.”

These roars become easy to recognize when we know the word of God and the message of truth. Investigators who can identify counterfeit money, become great at their craft by studying the real dollar bills/checks not the fake ones. They come to know the real bill/check so well that anything that doesn’t feel, smell, and look like the real thing will begin to stand out to them, almost immediately, like monopoly money. Spend time with in the word of God, study it for yourself and know the real sound of God’s word so you will not be moved by anything else.

Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

2. Resist. When we hear the roar of the enemy, we need to resist the feelings of anxiety, fear, and hopelessness. This resistance begins with not only knowing the word of God, but using it as a weapon against wrong thoughts and lies that come up against us. In Matthew chapter 4:1-11 we read about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. He was confronted by this roaring lion and resisted him by using the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 describes the word of God as a sword to be deployed in spiritual warfare. So, I see it as two-fold. One, is knowing the word of God, but two is using it to resist the devil. We use it by speaking it out and living it. Verbal words will always overcome thoughts and obedience will always yield fruitful results.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

3. Stand firm in Faith. When Will told Evan to stop roaring, he had faith that Evan would comply. Now one could say, that is an easy assumption that a 4-year-old would comply to his father and that a father would not be intimidated by his son’s roar. No real faith needed. However, I want to stick with this example and ask that you envision Will cowering down like my one-year old Aaron. Running away in fear. The picture looks rather silly and almost impossible if we assume Will was in his right state of mind. Now think about the believer. Spiritually, we are the Will in this situation.

We have been given authority through Jesus Christ to STAND FIRM. The reality is that life’s roars don’t seem as obvious at times as the Evan roar in the example. Jesus was tempted after he had been fasting for 40 days. He was weak and, as you can imagine, hungry. The first roar was about food! Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread. Oh how he could have physically longed for a taste in that moment but he had to resist and stand firm. God is calling for us to do the same. He is not withholding good from us. He is protecting us from the deceit of the enemy.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

So, the truth of it all is, we have an enemy who is actively looking to devour us, but he has no power or authority to reign in our lives. We must be alert and of sober mind, resist, and stand firm in faith. God has so much victory for us to live out daily by His grace. See your enemy as the four-year-old boy screaming at the top of his longs and see yourself as the 6’4 tall dad. No more living life as the one year old, caught off guard and scared. God hasn’t given us a spirit of timidity but of power, love, and of sound mind.

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