An average adult lion weighs 280 to 420 pounds. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to find myself face to mane with a creature that size. That, however, is the exact position in which many early Christians found themselves. Being placed in the Roman arena to be eaten by starving lions for the entertainment of spectators was a common form of execution for first-century believers who faced persecution by emperor Nero who ruled Rome from 54-68 A.D. It makes sense that Peter would refer to the devil as a prowling lion. Satan seeks to harm Christians in any way possible. Satin is always on the prowl looking for someone to devour. The devil is the king of all liars, creating doubt and fear in our hearts. From the beginning of time, the devil has posed the question, “did God really say?” (Gen. 3:1)
After His baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan. (Matthew 4:1-11) The devil tried to persuade Jesus to test God by jumping off the temple’s highest point so that God would send His angels to save Jesus. Satan even used scripture to try to persuade Jesus to jump, but Jesus wouldn’t hear it. Jesus went up against the devil’s temptation, and his final response was, “Away from me, Satan. For it is written: worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” After Jesus banished the devil, the text concludes with angles coming to attend to Jesus.
In our modern society, speculation about the devil and the presence of evil in the world are often viewed as superstitious nonsense. However, we don’t have to look very hard to see that our world is broken. There is evil in the world. We don’t talk about the presence of evil spirits as openly as people have in previous centuries. We try to explain things through logic and science. We try to explain away our problems. When things go wrong, we do everything in our power to fix them. When things continue to go wrong, we say, “I’m fine,” or “I just need to try harder.” We try to fight the battles in our lives, forgetting that God has already won the war.
Martin Luther once said, “the less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray, the better it goes.” There is evil in this world. You will face trials, but there is nothing that God has not already overcome. When you come face to face with a lion, remember that God shuts the mouths of lions. Turn to God in prayer. God does not promise that this life will be easy but he does promise to be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9) So stand firm in the faith, pray without ceasing, cast all your anxieties on God because he cares for you, and know that no matter what you are not alone.