We all have "roaring lions" in our lives, even if they come in looking all cute and cuddly. Actually, often lions are the most dangerous when they look cuddly, because who wouldn't want to have the chance to snuggle up to a lion without - we suppose - getting eaten? And so, we snuggle in close, refusing to see the baited trap that lies in wait.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
The devil - the lion - is looking for his lunch, and he is very hungry! He will use all the tricks he has to entice you closer and closer until he can pounce on you and tear you to shreds. He will lure you, he will seduce you, he will tempt you. He will use your wants, he will use your family and friends, he will use your emotions, and he will exploit even the smallest weakness that he finds.
Satan was created as the most beautiful and wise angel; he didn't lose that when he rebelled against God. He has observed human nature throughout our history, and he is very talented at deception, manipulation, and seduction. He is a dangerous, crafty foe, and we are called to stand firm - we are to know the tactics of the devil and resist his wiles by the strength of God in us.
...be clothed with humility, for
“ God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
James agrees, then adds -
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
We humble ourselves before God, knowing that we have no strength of ourselves to combat this mighty enemy. Like sheep who are wholly dependant on their shepherd, we must fully rely on God's wonderful grace and love for protection, strength and guidance. Our old, rebellious nature that is still within us wants to partner with the lion, wants to indulge in sinful lusts and actions, wants to have an easy "carefree" life - and that is the way of destruction. That is the way of eternal damnation, and the devil rejoices over one more soul that will be in torment with him in hell forever - misery really does love company, you know.
But our new nature, the heart of flesh that longs for God and His righteousness, the living spirit that God has given us, that spirit wants to obey and to resist the devil's wiles. This is the spirit we must feed and nurture.
This is the nature of a child of God, whose destiny is an eternity of life and love and joy in the very presence of our heavenly Father.
Well, I've been playing tag with the lion, and it's time to stop.
The next time he comes knocking and wanting to play, I think I'll let Jesus answer.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee