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The Devil is a Toothless Lion.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” — 1 Pet. 5:8
Constantly, it seems, I hear Christians saying phrases like “it’s just the devil.” “Don’t let the devil get to you” “The devil is just using that person to get to you”
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21
We give the Devil his authority with the things we speak. If Paul referred to him as a lion who only roars. Satan roars loudly in hopes to scare us, make us fearful and put down our guard so that he may devour us. Fear is his greatest tool. If he can make you fear, he has you. God didn’t create us fearful, he create us to be strong and withstand. So Satan opens up his powerless maw and releases a loud roar and hopes to frighten one of the weak and pick them off.
What is our job?
We are to be sober, vigilant. This means be on guard. This causes me to believe that Paul is warning us to not give him authority. Not to allow him the opportunity to strike.
Consider a thief is standing at the front door of your home. The scrawny, muscleless man stands with an empty shotgun pointed at the door. The thief is pounding and pounding and finally you get to the door. Looking through the peephole at Him and his weapon, you cry, “who is it?” He throws the barrel up, aims for the peephole and threatens to blow the door open if you don’t let him in. Unbeknownst that the gun is empty you let him in and he robs you blind. You stand trembling with fear as everything you’ve worked so hard for is stripped away from you by a weak, skinny punk with a shotgun without shells.
This is the devil in your life. He has nothing on that big oak door. He could pound and beat on that door for years and it’d never come down, but your fear of his useless weapon caused you to open up and allow him to ravage your home.
Every time we make excuses for people’s behavior and claim it’s the Devil working in our lives against us we give him a foothold. We need to recognize that we can’t give the devil credit for humanity. Sin has caused us to be vile creatures. When someone is mean to you, or outward tries to make life difficult for you, unless this is behavior completely contrary to their normal way of acting – it isn’t the devil… it’s just them. When we allow fear in our lives we give the devil rights. Again, I stress, when we give him authority, he will take it. But if we resist the devil he must flee.
Make it a goal in your daily speech to not give the devil more credit than he deserves. After all, he is a toothless old lion trying to act tough.