Thursday, September 8, 2005
Some friends of ours are involved in a ministry whose offices are out in the country. The setting is beautiful and far enough out that it even has some interesting four-legged neighbors. Like the mountain lion several workers and neighbors have spotted. There's not supposed to be a mountain lion in their area, but someone forgot to tell the mountain lion. I understand this has caused the folks who work there - especially if they're around after dark - to be just a little more vigilant when they're coming or going from their car. Personally, I think it's better for the person to see the lion before the lion sees the person.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What the Lion is Waiting For."
Before you breathe a sigh of relief that you don't have a lion prowling around where you are, consider our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Peter 5:7-8. Verse 8 says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."
Satan is a spiritual predator who stalks the children of God. He hates God, and he hates you because you were made in God's image. And like a big cat, he is looking for an opportunity to pounce on you and bring you down. I'm sure you can think of times when he did just that. Now, the more you grow in Christ, the more you start to make a difference for Christ, the more the lion of hell is going to want to have you.
Now there are many ways we give the devil an opportunity to get to us. But one major one is actually spelled out in the verse that immediately precedes this lion bulletin we just read. You may be surprised what gives the lion his opening. It's not drugs or alcohol or sex or some mega-temptation; although he can certainly use those. Listen to what prompts Peter to tell us to be self-controlled and alert against the lion's attack. In verse 7, he says, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
Implication: if you don't cast your worries on the Lord, you are giving the devil the opening he needs to bring you down. Imagine - worry is a favorite weapon of Satan to get you to do what he wants instead of what God wants. Why? Well, for one thing, worrying makes you be all about yourself. You're focused on your stress, your problems, yourself and not on the Lord who promises, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" ( Romans 8:37). The lion can bring you down. He's no match for Jesus. When you're all about Jesus, you're invincible. When you're all about yourself, you're lion lunch. And worry makes you all about you.
When you dwell on your anxieties and fears, you tend to become discouraged - a condition Satan can use to get you to do all kinds of things you'll later regret. You tend to panic and leave the will of God to do something to fix things. Except your panic response will probably only make things worse and spoil what God was doing. Worry takes you away from your time with God, away from your trust in God, away from good sleep and important disciplines, and you abandon the very things you need to keep you strong in times of stress.
If your worries are a heavy backpack, bending you low, it's time you took off that backpack and gave it to the strong friend who walks every mile by your side. That's Jesus. You have no business carrying all that junk. He's asking you to put those worries on His shoulders. When you do, you rob hell's devouring lion of one of his greatest tools to use against you. When the Australians say, "No worries, mate," they've got the right idea. You've got Almighty God asking for your backpack of anxiety. What in the world are you doing still carrying it around? Trying to be lion bait? Cast all your cares on Him - He cares for you!