Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Have you ever seen a film clip of a pride of lions looking for their next meal? The lions hide in the high grass or behind some other form of cover, stealthily making their way towards their next victim. When the time is just right, the lions burst out of their cover to move in for the kill. Almost always, their attack occurs just about the same time that the prey becomes aware that it’s being stalked by the lions. The chase is on!
More often than not, the final scene shows the helpless victim being taken down and devoured by the hungry lions. After all, other than perhaps an elephant, what animal would stand a chance against a lion?
I can certainly understand likening an attack from the devil to being attacked by a lion. A lion is indeed a powerful and stealthy predator, and it devours its prey, leaving nothing but the bones. The lion, much like Satan, is indeed a deadly and worthy adversary.
Be that as it may, there’s another of God’s creations that I would compare to Satan’s attacks.
Look, if a lion were to sneak up on you and bite you, you’d know it immediately, right? Of course you would!
It’s not that way with termites. Do you know how termites operate? They find the tiniest of openings in the foundation, floors, or exterior walls of a structure. This opening may be the result of a structural weakness, poor construction, or a lack of preventative measures. Unlike the attack by lions, there’s no tall grass or prowling around by the termites. They just search for that one opening, that weak spot, and once it’s found, the assault on the wood begins. Unlike a lion attack, a termite invasion involving not one, but hundreds, if not thousands of termites, often goes unnoticed. By the time that it is discovered, the structure has been weakened, if not totally destroyed.
I have to tell you that I don’t like writing about Satan. You see, I don’t even want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he has bothered me enough to warrant mentioning him on this site.
Still, there are those times when I’ve just come out of a round of spiritual warfare, and the impact of it on my life has been so intense that I can’t not write about him (if that makes any sense to you). I’ve just come through one of those battles, which lasted just over a week, and as I told my friend Amy Leigh the other day, it’s not so much being in the battle that’s so draining as much as it is the effort to get out of it.
It all began with a personnel problem in our salon a couple of Wednesdays ago. A situation that had been going on for quite some time came to a head, and I was left with no choice but to take action. Look, I’m not a confrontational person, and I when I have to make a tough decision, even if it’s a “no-brainer”, it takes a lot out of me. (A weakness in the foundation. A tiny opening for termites to get in.) In this case, I felt so rotten that I didn’t even want to go to church that night, which we didn’t do. (More termites.) The next day I had mentoring sessions with members of our team that lasted all day long and left me exhausted. (More termites) On Friday I had a very long and emotionally draining conversation with the person that started all the mess. (Termites are pouring in by now) By day’s end, I was questioning why we were even still in the salon business! Throughout the turn of events, my wife Jackie and I had begun snipping at each other over nothing, which only made matters worse. I don’t know about you, but when I can’t find peace at work, and I can’t find it at home, things just go into a downward spiral. This trend continued throughout the weekend, and actually worsened when we were unable to go to church on Sunday. The “last straw” occurred on Tuesday morning, when I was at a roundtable discussion with a gathering of Christian CEOs and business owners here in Birmingham. I received a text from the salon that our phones weren’t working. Twenty minutes later I was informed that in addition to the phones, the computers had stopped working! In essence, our business was effectively cut off from the rest of the world! Really? After the meeting I went to the salon and got everything working again, but I have to tell you that I was not a happy camper, and I wasn’t bashful when it came to talking to God about it. (The termites were winning the battle.) I made it through the rest of the day, and it was a real struggle for me to keep my composure. In fact, evening came with Jackie and me in yet another disagreement and me wondering not if, but when, the storm was gonna pass.
They always do, you know. Battles end, storms pass, and life returns to some degree of normalcy; but not without a fight. When I’m in one of these “things” I have to pray harder (even thought my prayers feel empty) and look more diligently for opportunities to share my love for God with someone (doing so makes me feel stronger). I have to dig in and stand firm. There’s no other options, cause I’m not going backwards. Besides; I know that God won’t let me get hit with more than I can handle. I just have to be patient.
Or do I?
I was sitting in the kitchen when Brooke, our live-in ministry student, came home at the end of her day. Taking one look at me, and having known what I’d been going through, Brooke asked if we could pray, to which I readily and eagerly agreed. We called Jackie into the kitchen and the three of us sat down for prayer and joined hands.
Brooke went first, and even as I was listening to her prayer, a war was raging in my mind. I was trying to receive the blessings of her prayers, but this little voice in the back of my mind kept screaming at me about what we’d been through during the past week. Brooke’s prayers were being drowned out by the incessant voices in my head, which only served to raise my level of frustration. Termites…
I became aware of the fact that Brooke was no longer praying, and that silence had filled the room. It was my turn to offer prayers. I frantically searched for the place in my heart that would allow me to feel God’s presence and peace. It didn’t work. War was still raging within.
Increasing my grip on Jackie and Brooke’s hands, I called on everything in me to summon up a prayer. What came out wasn’t a petition to God, but a statement of defiance against Satan.
“It ends here. It ends now. This has gone on long enough. I proclaim the victory that Jesus won on the cross, and in his name, I command you to get out of my home and out of my business. You have no power over me. You are beaten. In Jesus’ name, I pray protection over me, Jackie, Brooke, our family, and I kick you to the curb. Now get out!”
As I was railing against Satan, tears began streaming down my face, and I could once again feel the comforting presence of God. It was over. I began to pray. The termites were gone.
Lions and Termites
Satan, much like the termite, finds a weak spot or the tiniest of entrances into a home. Quite often, the homeowner doesn’t become aware of the termite infestation until the damage has been done. Getting rid of them and restoring the structure to it original condition doesn’t always come so easily.
Satan, much like the lion, is always on the prowl looking for its next victim. He’s a formidable foe, a killing machine, and king of the dark world. Because of that, he’s not easily intimidated. He will not respond to timidity.
It’s one thing to know what’s in the Bible. You can know every word chapter and verse from Genesis to Revelation, and you can accept every word in it as the absolute truth.
Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment, the spirit left her. Acts 16:18 NIV
Yes, it’s one thing to believe what the Bible says. It’s another thing to own it; to make it a part of your DNA. If you do, the Bible becomes more than just a written word and more than simply a book. It comes alive, and becomes a part of you, and with it comes the awesome power of God’s Word.
Finally Sam became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to get out of here!” At the moment, the spirit left.
Nothing can ignore the power of God’s word. Not termites, not lions, and certainly not Satan. The next time that you’re being pounded on, why don’t you try it?