Stay in control of yourselves; stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is stalking around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. [1 Peter 5:8 (NTE)]
When we took a photo safari in Tanzania several years ago, bathrooms were in short supply and the gentlemen occasionally would step out of the Land Rovers to “check the tires.” The guides, however, always cautiously chose the “tire-checking” locations and only stopped in the middle of the road in open areas. While there was little privacy, predators had no place in which to hide and any that approached could be seen from a distance. After all, no one wanted to be surprised by a lion while answering nature’s call. Since Satan sometimes skulks around like a hungry lion, it is wise to remember the guides’ advice: never linger where lions (or other predators) may be lurking.
Satan, however, isn’t always as obvious as a prowling lion. Sometimes, he’s more like a snake hidden in the grass waiting for us to approach. Since deceit is the most powerful weapon in his arsenal, we can be sure he won’t be wearing a sign that says, “Danger – Don’t touch!” In fact, unlike a lion or snake, he may look innocent and rather appealing, like the harmless looking caterpillar I saw while walking in the swamp. Bearing a slight resemblance to a piece of novelty or “eyelash” yarn, it was a pretty little creepy-crawly with delicate tufts of hair. Looking so soft, I was tempted to lightly bush my finger over it. Fortunately, I’d just seen a sign warning of poisonous caterpillars and, suspecting that little guy was not as innocent as it seemed, I kept my hands to myself. The cute critter tuned out to be a tussock moth caterpillar and even a light touch of its soft looking bristles will feel like being pricked by fiberglass! In fact, some species can leave a persistent and painful rash.
We must never forget that Satan is cunning, powerful, resourceful and persistent. Sometimes, like a hungry lion, he actively hunts and we can see him coming from a distance. On the other hand, like a poison caterpillar that looks inviting and innocent, he sometimes lays in wait for us where we’d least expect to find trouble. Either way, we need to be constantly alert. While it may announce itself with a roar, more often than not, temptation looks as harmless as a fuzzy caterpillar. Don’t venture too close!
There is a precipice near every man’s foot, and a snare in every man’s path. … There is a lure for every bird, a bait for every fish. … Watch constantly against those things which are thought to be no temptations. The most poisonous serpents are found where the sweetest flowers grow. [Charles Spurgeon]