He belongs behind bars. I think you’ll agree after you read this excerpt from Wild at Heart, by Ransom Ministries.
“Our local zoo, for years had one of the biggest African lions I’ve ever seen. A huge male, nearly five hundred pounds, with a wonderful mane and absolutely enormous paws. Panthera eo, the King of the Beasts.
Sure, he was caged, but I’m telling you the bars offered small comfort when you stood within six feet of something that in any other situation saw you as an easy lunch. Honestly, I felt I ought to shepherd my boys past him at a safe distance, as if he could pounce on us if he really wanted to.
Yet he was my favorite, and whenever the others would wander on to the monkey house or the tigers, I’d double back just for a few more minutes in the presence of someone so powerful and noble and deadly. Perhaps it was fear mingled with admiration; perhaps it was simply that my heart broke for the big old cat.
This wonderful, terrible creature should have been out roaming the savannah, ruling his pride, striking fear into the heart of every wildebeest, bringing down zebras and gazelles whenever the urge seized him. Instead, he spent every hour of every day and every night of every year alone, in a cage smaller than your bedroom, his food served to him through a little metal door.”
Although pitifully out of his habitat, he’s behind bars so visitors are safe. Not so in the zoo of life we’re living in right now. Another being lurks around. He’s on the loose, free, roaming from here to there as “he prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).
But before we take a step back in fear, we recognize what we must never do: not for one minute do we become intimidated, or do we focus on his presence, his demonic ploys or his masterful lies that carry counterfeit messages.
Instead, we follow the FBI’s method. They have an effective way to detect counterfeit currency bills.
Their approach is to intensely study, analyze and examine the intricate details of the authentic, genuine currency.
So deeply ingrained in their brains are the details of the true and legitimate paper bill that when they encounter a counterfeit, they immediately recognize it.
We need to do the same. We prepare. We study, examine and internalize God’s truth. Then, quicker than a flick on the cell phone, we can identify the adversary.
3 Steps to Take
And to avoid being his prey, we take these three steps:
No. 1: Dress up for the day. Each morning, before we pour the first cup of coffee, we put on the armor of God. Why? Because the day of temptation and attacks will come. When it does, here’s what we do: “…put on the full armor of God, 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 6:13-17 NIV)
We have that mighty designer armor delivered right to the door of our heart. But what do we do? Instead of putting it on, we sometimes head out spiritually naked. We do because life’s tasks demand our time. Because social media lures us. Because we become busy feeding our worry with exaggerated lies from the media. And before we know it, we become an inviting prey for the enemy.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Dressed in God’s armor, we’re the ones who sit at the table of His grace and feed our mind, spirit and soul with the promise of His guaranteed protection.
No. 2. We declare our position. Equipped and ready, we can step at the front of the battle line. Fear left behind, worry shed away, anxiety has no power anymore.
And from this point on, no matter how gloomy the world turns, how uncertain the future may seem. And no matter what threats may come our way, we stand firm empowered by our position of truth. God’s truth that, in the midst of our worst pain and anguish, He speaks to us through the Apostle Paul’s words “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36 NIV).
The danger is real and the threat is near. But we stand in the position of power because “…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV).
Our place of security is in Christ. That’s why even if the world seems to be falling apart, we’re secure because we’re in the right location—in Him. In Christ, in His corner. In His strength and in His love.
No. 3 Dare to be different. Have you read the posts? Have you listened to the news? Have you seen the complaints and lamenting words? We all have. But not all of us have to follow the crowd and become members of the “frantic club.”
Once inducted in this club, we’re doomed. We end up making decisions based on everyone else’s example. We follow steps dictated by fear. And we head in directions paved by others.
Time to change. What if we chose to dare to be different? Let’s disconnect that channel from which we receive our information. What if we pull away from the computer? What if we temporarily turned off our cell phones. Outrageous!
Though it may seem an impossible task as our cells have become a body part—they go with us everywhere—restaurants, cars, stores, the park, the bathroom. Soon they might sell water-proof cell phones so we can take them in the shower.
But what if we choose to be different and take a few minutes to be in silence. And with resolve, we direct our focus only on the Lord. On His ways. On His goodness. On His promises. And on His comfort.
The result will be that in God’s presence, we find peace. In the stillness of our heart, we find rest. In the quiet of the moment, our minds become clear. And in the pondering of His goodness, we gain strength.
That’s why we remain steady. We remain strong and faithful. And instead of wimpy Christians, we become warriors, conquerors. Actually, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 niv).
More than conquerors, secure in who we are, we begin each day spiritually dressed. We declare our position in Christ. We boldly choose to be different than the crowd. And thus, we put the enemy behind bars and we stand firm and victorious.
Although a victorious life doesn’t mean empty of adversity, it’s rich with God’s promise that we’re guided by the truth of His Word. We’re anointed by His Holy Spirit. And protected by the blood of the Lamb.
Let’s Pray: Father, thank you for providing the perfect shield from the enemy’s attacks, Under Your grace, we may not be immune to suffering, but we’re equipped to endure, to triumph and live in the security of Your protection. In Jesus’ name.
What steps have you taken to live secure and protected?
Janett Perez Eckles