So imagine this: you are stranded and lost in the middle of an African jungle. As you travel, you grow weary and tired, not sure exactly which direction to go. Finally you come to a path, which splits off in two directions. to the right the path goes off into an open meadow, which has a stream running through it, and what looks like a possible village in the distance – in other words, Safety. To the left, there are only more trees and behind the trees is a large cave, which you happen to see a lioness entering just as you look. A Lion’s den – in other words, Danger.
In our lives, we come to this fork in the road many times. We have a choice to go to the safety of the Lord or to walk away from God and walk into the home of the enemy. In fact we come to this decision every day, numerous times a day. True, the right choice doesn’t always seem so obvious. Sometimes the lion’s den is more enticing as a place for shelter, safety and comfort…maybe even pleasure. It might look good, but on the inside it’s still the same, filled with Lions. In 1 Peter 5:8-9, Peter says “Be Sober and Vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, Resist him, steadfast in faith…”
During lent this year I found myself being stalked by this ‘lion’. I underwent some very hard temptations and struggled with how to fight off this lion. When I talked to my brothers, the other missionary men, I explained this temptation like a lion, constantly prowling around me. As I prayed and was supported by my brothers in Christ I got back onto my feet and was able to take on this lion’s vicious assault of temptation. My Brother Mark showed me the story of Samson. As I read this story, one part jumped out. Samson was attacked by a lion and killed it with his bare hands. I found this incredible. Here is a man who has long hair, like me; who doesn’t drink, like me; and who is under attack from a lion, kind of like me. So I took what samson did and acted. I fought back with what I had, which was nothing but trust in the Lord. With much prayer and the support of my brothers, I was able to fight off this lion.
Samson did not go off looking for the lion. He didn’t wander into the lion’s den. He sought the Lord, so that Lion had to come after him, try to make him it’s prey. How often do we go looking for “lions” believing that we can fight it off, thinking we can handle the temptation? The lion’s den might look good. It might look fun and even adventurous. You might just want to take on the lion to show your strength. But really, you are walking right into the trap of sin. Once you enter the lion’s den, there is always a bigger fight than your expecting. But if you go off on the right path, the Lord will strengthen you even when the enemy attacks.
This lent, I re-realized some very important things: 1) don’t willingly go into the lion’s den, no matter what and 2) constantly seek the Lord and depend on His strength to fight off the ‘lion’. Even if you have lost the will to fight certain temptations in your life, pray for it to come back, and it will. The evil one, is strong, relentless and is seeking to devour our soul. But when we strive to follow the Lord, we will be blessed with strength.
So I Invite you to take some time to look at the paths you are taking in your life. Where are they leading? Are they leading closer to the Lord and his “village”? Or are they leading to the lion’s den? Make the decision right now to turn away from sin and run to the Lord. He will give you exactly what you need to fight off the “lions” in your life. Let’s us pray for each other as we resist the devil, seek the Lord and remain steadfast in faith.
1 peter 5:8-9 “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world will undergo the same sufferings.”