It’s amazing how the Colosseum of ancient Rome stood out in my 7-year-old mind. I truly didn’t want to leave the place, but when my parents started to leave, I had no choice but to go. One thing my parents couldn’t control, however, was my imagination; and it continued to live on in the ancient building for hours.
My parents had told me that in its high day, the Colosseum was the scene of thousands of battles. The thought of battles excites any little boy, whether hand to hand combat as between gladiators, or whether it was contests between men and animals. Apparently even mock battles were even there. It was absolutely fascinating for my childish mind. I could see the charging lions being released from their cages. I could feel the rumble of the excited crowd. I could hear the clanging of swords against shields. It was, over all, the most exhilarating place I had ever been at that stage in my life.
Initially my mind glossed over the deaths that happened there. To me, a loser meant someone who was down for a few seconds, and the winner was the one who put him down. The idea of people being killed by animals, and especially the idea of one gladiator killing another, never even occurred to me.
It wasn’t until later that my mom told me each of the matches in the Colosseum usually ended up with the loser losing his life… Even then, I had a hard time believing this; but the longer I thought about, the more horrified I became. Why would people do such a thing? Shouldn’t the ones ordering the fights be put in the arenas instead of those innocent gladiators? Suddenly even the thundering roar of the imaginary crowd began to disgust me. What was the sport in seeing a wild animal maul a human being?
As I grew up, I began to learn about yet another conflict: The conflict between good and evil. The devil and his minions like nothing better than to see God’s precious creation mauling each other. They delight in causing humans to turn on one another and take pleasure in seeing someone suffer. I would learn over time that each and every temptation that came my way was the devil’s way of turning my mind against God and against my fellow mankind. As a matter of fact, the more I learned, the more I began to feel like I was the prisoner in the Coliseum, being forced to face down lions without protection…
The Bible refers to this exact image: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). How could the prisoners of old even have a chance against the wild animals? How could I — or anyone else around me — stand a chance against that roaring lion of a devil?
Fortunately, unlike the prisoners in the Colosseum, we are not left without defense in our fight against evil. We are given a complete set of armour, armour that is actually impenetrable. This armour is described in Ephesians 6: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:11,13b-17 NIV)
This is one catch, however: Although the armour is provided, it is our choice whether or not we use it. We are admonished to: “Put on the full armor of God…” (vs. 11a NIV)
Imagine this with me. You are in the Colosseum, about to face a lion. Someone comes to you and says, “If you want some protection, there’s a full set of armour by the gate!” Would you have said, “Oh no thanks, I don’t need it”? Or would you have been quick to put it on? In our case, we don’t necessarily know when the “lion”, the devil, will try and pounce on us. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense that we are fully armed at all times?
As I think back to the horror I felt when I learned the people had to go into the arena and face lions without protection, I truly have to ask myself why I don’t make use of God’s armour … ALL the time!
Prayer: Father God, thank You for providing us with armour. Please help us to remember to put on that armour. Help us to wear it … ALL the time! So that we take our stand against the devil’s schemes!
In His love,
To access the entire “Through the Eyes of a Child” devotional series, please click here!