Baby Lions

When my family took a trip to South Africa, we were privileged to be able to go on some excursions that included many different African animals.  We got to ride an elephant, interact with rescued cheetahs & drive through Kruger National Park, where we had close up encounters with giraffes, zebras & rhinos in their natural, wild habitat.

My most memorable encounter though came on the day we went to a lion sanctuary.  There were some rescued lions but there were also baby lions, born in captivity, which had been separated from their mothers.  We were allowed to go into the caged area with the baby lions that were 3-4 months old.  We got really close to them, though we were told we couldn’t touch them.  The animal caretaker explained to us that we had to be very careful because those adorable little lions could actually knock us down & do serious harm just because they wanted to play. 

We then went over to an area where they kept the 6-7 month old baby lions but we were not allowed to go in to that cage.  It was clear from standing outside the fence, those little lions too wanted human interaction but the caretaker once again explained the dangers of being caught in a situation of being too close to what seemed harmless but was actually dangerous.  We were told how easily a 6-7 month old lion could kill a person within minutes, all because of an instinctual & well meaning intent to play.

Lastly, we went by large enclosed fields of full-grown lions.  They were stunning & beautiful, lying out in the warm, bright African sun.  Once again we were warned how extremely dangerous these animals were.  The caretaker told us that only very specially trained animal handlers were allowed inside those gates.

As our time went on, I kept thinking about those baby lions.  They truly were the cutest little things & their faces were so innocent & curious.  As I was remembering the warning of how those adorable little lions could do so much harm to a human, I thought about this scripture: 

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.   {1 Peter 5:8-9a}

Our enemy, Satan, plots his schemes & comes to us as one of those baby lions.  The face & the eyes you look into give you no indication that any interaction with that little lion could take you down. 

And that’s where it starts.  Sin.  As seemingly harmless as a baby lion.  The small thing we think we can handle, so we move on to the cage with the lion that’s just a little bigger.  We play, interact & talk to it.  We rationalize in our head that we could get out of that cage & never be hurt & probably no one would even know we had gone into the the danger zone.   We forget the warning, so we venture into the large open field where the lions are full grown.  We can sneak around the lion for a while, but these creatures instinctually smell prey & they will ultimately kill whoever is in their area.

The first look at sin seems innocent enough.  The second might leave us feeling a little more unsteady but as we continue in it & it grows, the enemy is happy to know he has you trapped in a fenced area where he will be your ultimate downfall except for the one weapon you have to fight him off.   

The verses just before & just after this warning in Peter that tells us to stay alert & give all our cares to God.  Peter tells us that we should stand firm against the devil & that Jesus will strengthen us & set our feet on a firm foundation.  He promises to give us the strength we need.

Next time the enemy comes & tempts you to play with a small sin remember this advice from Peter:

Be Alert ~ God will crush Satan under our feet but we must turn to God to do this.  We can’t fight off the enemy alone.  If we do not run into His arms we will have no protection from the enemy.  He asks us to give Him our cares, so why do we continue to strive on our own to make it through? – {Romans 16:19-20}

Be Faithful ~ When Daniel found himself in a literal den of lions, God shut their mouths because Daniel was ‘found blameless’ in God.  We who believe in Jesus are blameless as well because the blood of Jesus covers all of our sin.  Living a faithful life, keeps us out of harms way.  The Lord will provide a way out & shut the lion’s mouth so you will not be harmed.  {Daniel 6:22, 1 Corinthians 10:13}

Be Bold ~ There is always more power in the blood of Jesus than there is in the guilt or sin you carry.  Our sins are not bigger than God’s power.   When Joseph faced the great temptation of sleeping with his master’s wife, he refused to sin against God.  We must be bold & resolve that we will not sin against God our Redeemer.   {Genesis 39:7-23}

Remember temptation is not sin.  Temptation is a normal part of life, but choosing God over the ways of the enemy requires faith in the power of Jesus.

What is God asking you to do next?  

Is there an area in your life where you need to believe Jesus’ truth over the enemies’ lie today?