LIKE a Roaring Lion
In Peter’s first letter in the New Testament, he encourages the readers (originally, the Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia) to be watchful and to resist our enemy, the devil.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
(1 Peter 5:8-10 ESV)
Many times we are quick to use this passage to point out how “powerful” and “formidable” our enemy is, indicating that we are dealing with an adversary that we should not ignore. And we certainly should not ignore our enemy or the spiritual battlefield that we are a part of as those who follow Christ.
However, we also need to take encouragement and power in Christ from the passage, and not simply fear.
LIKE a Lion
Reading carefully, the passage says that the devil is only LIKE a roaring lion, it does not say that he IS a lion.
Remember, Jesus Christ IS the lion of Judah! Whereas, the devil is only posing as a lion. Posing, pretending, and disguising are what the enemy does best.
But remember, Jesus is the real lion of Judah with the real strength, power, and protection that are FOR us. Emphasizing the phrase “like a lion” helps us to put proper perspective onto the adversary: a pretender and a poser, without the power of Christ.
A Roaring Lion
The passage says he is like a “roaring” lion. Yes, the enemy tries to be loud and make a lot of noise. But we get to choose if we turn that volume up to a level of “roaring” or not. We get to choose the voices that are loudest in our lives. God wants to be the closest to us. God wants to be the loudest voice that we listen to most often.
Seeking Someone to Devour
The passage also says that the devil is only SEEKING someone to devour. It does not say he even gets to find us, much less devour us. It only says he is seeking to do so.
Remember, God is our protector. The devil is a liar and a pretender. The devil tries to twist the truth. But Jesus is the lion. Jesus is not pretending. He was not pretending when he died for our sins and rose again on the third day.
God is our protector, and He will do even more than protect us, as it says in 1 Peter:
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
(1 Peter 5:10 ESV)
God will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you in His perfect ways and in His perfect timing, not necessarily in the ways or timing that we want.
So, what are we to do as we wait on God’s perfect ways and timing?
God wants us to submit our willing, repentant, and surrendered heart to Him at all times and He wants us to be close to Him, so that He can protect us and strengthen us. He wants us to “be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” ( from Ephesians 6:11).
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7 ESV)
Like A Roaring Lion
The roaring lion I love is Jesus. He is the lion of Judah. He died for us and for forgiveness of our sins. And He is the one that did the devouring; He devoured death itself so that we can live the eternal life on earth and in heaven, in relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
As St. Augustine put it, “He [Jesus Christ] endured death as a lamb; he devoured it as a lion.”—Augustine, Sermon 375A.