1 Peter 5:8
Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.
I read this verse and heard this verse probably 100 times its a great verse for teaching about many topics. One day I came across this verse and I had the overwhelming feeling in my spirit to look deeper. From this whole verse I kept fixating on the term lion. I know the comparison between the devil and a lion are made to instill us with the concept of how ferocious an adversary we face, but there was more.
I decided to do a little research on Lions and found out something that was actually pretty eye opening. Lions are known as ferocious predators, expert hunters, but what I learned that day was about how lions hunt.
Lions hunt through a series of deceptions. They take a few fake runs at the group. It seems random, it even seems like the attempts are weak or that they fail. The lions might even seem to be too slow to catch their prey but what they animal they are hunting isn’t seeing is that this is all part of the plot.
While the prey was getting more and more confident that it had the upper hand, the lions all the while were using this to their advantage until finally when they prey looks around the feeling of pride suddenly turns to terror. It realizes that it has been very cleverly separated from its support. It has been led far from any escape path and now it is surrounded by lions in a place where it can not get out and can not call for help. That is when the lion makes it real attack, it kills and devours its prey.
Comparing the devil to a lion wasn’t just to tell us that the enemy was ferocious, The enemy hunts for us the very same way as lions hunt their prey. Always trying to divide us, to separate us to get us away not only from God but from those who could speak life giving and life saving words into our lives when we are starting to notice that we have wondered into unfamiliar territory and cant find out way back.
In the 5th century b.c. Tsun Tzu Wrote the famous work entitled “the Art of war” . In that book he says this:
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
Warfare is based on confusing your enemy, the more disorientated they are and the less they know what to expect the less likely they are to be able to win the fight. This same book speaks about how a war is fought in the mind before a single solider even steps on the to the battle field.
What is so significant about being separate? Why does division make us weak?
When we read the gospels we read of all the amazing things Jesus did in his ministry. The thing that always jumped out at me is that of all the powerful things he did the very first thing was to assemble His team. Jesus who was clearly capable and able to teach and preach and heal and do profound things on his own, chose first to unite with others and for a team.
All the men whom he chose were Jews but its important to look at that as well. The fact that they were Jews didn’t meant hey were all of the same race and it certainly didn’t mean they were of the same social or economical class.
Matthew was a tax collector which was a seriously hated position because this was during the roman occupation, he was collecting taxes from the Jews on behalf of the Roman government so he was not only taking the peoples money but he was seen as a traitor and a sympathizer, a collaborator.
Judas was known to be a thief, other’s were into politics, some owned property and boats, some had little. They were from all over. Through out the bible there is a continual issue with the Hebrew people mixing with all sorts of foreign nations along the way, they kept their Jewish identity but racially they were very diverse people and though they were all Jews they all have very different beliefs even within that construct.
In the book of Acts Peters says
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
In other words it means that God isn’t concerned with who a person is or where they came from. He isn’t going to exclude anyone. Jesus assembled the team he wanted, people from all over, with different lives and different backgrounds and different traditions and heritages and in so doing he was making the point that the unification of believers is powerful.
Jesus as we know went on to die for our sins as individuals but he did so leaving us united as a church. We are called the Body of Christ for a reason. We are meant to be together.
Why does the enemy want to divide us. To take away our power.
He runs in circles around us just like the lions, he makes some fake runs at us trying to get us to wonder off and be lured this way and that way to convince us that we are far apart.
We divide over race, over gender over money, over traditions, over political views and we look around in utter disbelief at how we can all be human beings and yet all be so so different but this is the nature of the enemies attack. To convince us we are separate.
You have heard the term, Perception is reality. If we preconceive that we have nothing in common with the next person then we will live as though we do because that is what we think but this perception is not reality it is a lie.
Remember back to the lions and back to the quote from Tsun Tzu, the deception isn’t the attack the deception is what happens before the war begins. The deception is meant to set the stage for the enemy to attack while we are divided and confused and are even at a point where we are just as ready to fight our own neighbors as we are to battle the enemy.
This past week we all saw the horrible and heartbreaking death of George Floyd. This incident, this tragedy, I don’t even have appropriate words to refer to what happened. It shines a very bright light on the division. The strategy of the enemy to keep us apart to make us think we are different. But we the people rose up. When we see the footage of things happening all over the country now as an outcry, as a war cry we see people unite and stand together and it is a crowd hundreds and thousands of people, men women, young people from all neighborhoods and all races and they are standing shoulder to shoulder to rage at the injustice because no matter the lines we draw between ourselves we are all people all human and we will not be fooled anymore by the enemy that seeks to divide us.
I saw a clip of a white man in Minnesota in the middle of the protests he was there protesting right along side everyone from the community. All races, men and women and in this protest and in the middle of this protest he was actually punched in the face by an African American man who was screaming because of how hurt and frustrated he was that his community and his people had been so oppressed and mistreated. The white man was being interviewed after this happened and what he said was right on target he said he was sorry, he knows that that punch wasn’t about him but it was about a very real fight that the African American man faced everyday and that so many other people ignore. He apologized to the man that punched him in the face.
The division and the deception of the devil was not quite as completer as he though. Not as complete as maybe we even thought cause when look around now we are standing with people from everywhere standing against our common enemy not divides.
I’m not naive and there is still much separation but I belie that the battle is shifting and we are not fighting alone. The battle will be won by God and he sees us all as children. Not men and women or white and black but all loved and cherished children. Lets all act the same. I may not know you, I may not agree with your views, we man not we may not like the same music or movies or even have the same values but you are just as much a child of God as me and to that end I will treat you with the love, honor and respect you deserve, that we all deserve.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
There is Evil in this world, We have all been haunted, we have all seen the tape we have all heard the plea. “I Can’t Breath”
There is evil in this world but it is not stronger than good. That’s why evil needs to use tricks to fight. This is why the enemy needs to trick and deceive us because there is no contents on even footing evil doesn’t stand a chance.
The tears you see in our eyes are not the sign that the enemy is winning they are the sign that we are ready for this fight.
No more lines drawn, no more division, No more thinking that is not your problem, it is everyone’s problem everyone’s fight no more…
We are all one…
No weapon of the enemy shall prosper against us