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“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”1 Peter 5:8

Lions are fascinating creations of God.

When it comes to sheer strength lions are unrivaled in the animal world, which is why for millennia they have been referred to as the “king of beasts.” Few creatures on earth produce the duality of fear and respect in the hearts of animals and humans as do lions.

But there is an attribute that lions possess which often goes unnoticed: their intelligence and cunning.

Lions are smart. In stalking their prey they not only know what to do but how.

In the above text, the apostle Peter compares Satan, the diabolical and ever-present adversary of the Christian, to a “roaring” (ὠρύομαι) lion.

Peter is spot-on.

Now, I make no pretense whatsoever to be an expert on lions, but from various documentaries I’ve watched over the years it appears to me that lions tend to roar primarily, though not exclusively, for two reasons: 1) as a warning to rival lions not to breach their territorial boundaries, and 2) after they have made a kill.

An interesting thing about watching a pride of lions operate is not observing the lions, necessarily, but their prey. They never are truly at ease. There is always a nervousness and anxiety about them. And though these animals find themselves daily in surroundings that are quite familiar to them, they realize they are not alone in that understanding.

Whether it’s wildebeests, Thompson’s gazelles or zebras, these suspects are innately aware of the reality that their adversaries are constantly watching them, with the sole intent and purpose of killing and devouring them. As such, they never completely relax or let their guard down. They can’t afford to, because to relax is to die.

That Satan is compared to a roaring lion is, in my personal opinion, one of the most profound yet under-appreciated teachings in the New Testament. I often wonder how seriously we, as followers of Christ, take the fact that the devil views us just as a lion views its prey; that his sole reason for existing is to ensure our spiritual and physical demise.

Satan is a like a lion in that oftentimes we never see his attacks coming. The reason he camouflages himself is because he doesn’t want to give us an opportunity to respond to him in a way that would thwart his agenda.

But as much as Satan is a lot like a lion, there is one way in which he is not.

Unlike lions, Satan never sleeps. He never takes a single millisecond off. Like a pride of lions, Satan and his minions are always scheming, always planning, always devising some kind of way to defeat us, and oftentimes, his success is facilitated to the extent to which we choose to cooperate with him in executing his plans against us.

We see this, for example, in the account of Cain and Abel,

“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” – Genesis 4:6-7

Cain made the volitional decision to reject the counsel of God and, subsequently, in the very next verse in fact, Genesis 4:8, proceeded to murder his brother Abel. In considering the context of the aforementioned verses in Genesis 4 and 1 Peter 5, notice the similarity of the verbs used: “crouching” (רָבַץ) versus “prowling” (περιπατέω).

Brothers and sisters, what you and I have to remember is that sin is never static. It is always dynamic. Sin has a nature. It moves. It breathes. It desires.

Sin is never dormant. It is always active. Always.

Like a roaring lion, Satan will not hesitate to use the people and things around us to camouflage the intentions he has toward us, namely, our destruction.

As Christians, as followers of the Way, we cannot for one minute afford to let our spiritual guard down, because it is when we are the most unsuspecting that Satan does the most damage.

Sin is serious business, folks.

If we are to “master” sin we must engage in the habitual study of God’s Word, relying always on the Holy Spirit to empower and enable us to overcome our adversary, not just daily but moment-by-moment because, unlike lions, Satan has no territorial boundaries and he never sleeps.

Neither should we.

Think about it.


“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”1 Peter 5:8

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