There was once a zookeeper, a lonely man, that found comfort in alcohol. Once everyone left, and the zoo was quiet, he would sit on the ground, leaning on the wall singing sad songs. The drunker he got, the louder he sang. One night, after a particularly difficult day he was determined to forget everything and got extremely intoxicated. Stumbling to his feet in his drunken stupor he made his way to the nearest restroom. He fumbled through his pockets looking for keys. After unlocking the door, he sighed, relieved he had made it to the restroom in time…what he didn’t notice was that the sign above the door he unlocked read “Lions of Africa Exhibit”
We may cringe in suspense, imagining the worst unfold in the story. But the truth is many of us may look like this man from time to time.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
When the Word tells us to be “sober” it is telling us not to be intoxicated, not to be drunk, not to be under an influence. Dear reader, there is no way we have a fighting chance against the enemy when we are intoxicated. In the natural we may not drink alcohol, much less get drunk—but spiritually and emotionally we are just as drunk and in as much danger as that zookeeper, intoxicated with discouragement, intoxicated with fear, fame even, worry and shame…so many people are intoxicated with pain, with pride. The Bible admonishes us to be sober so that we fight strategically against our adversary the devil.
While the enemy’s roar may awaken fear and intimidate, it is just that—a big roar—the enemy is nothing more than a bully, he loves to make noise, he loves to threaten with his roar. But the truth is, he cannot touch us. The only way the enemy can touch us is if we are no longer under God’s protection by cause of our own disobedience.
We are also instructed, not only to be sober, but to be vigilant. Being vigilant requires us to keep careful watch for possible danger or difficulties. I think of the watchful eye of an eagle. This magnificent creature can spot a fish swimming in the water miles and miles away, yet it remains focused, eyes fixed to swoop down and catch its next meal. We too must be vigilant and focused, we must not go to sleep, and must be very aware; having keen spiritual eyes so that we not get caught off guard by our enemy that is waiting to devour us.
The word “devour” implies to eat, drink or consume in a violent or destructive manner. The enemy doesn’t play fair—that’s exactly what he wants to do to us. Eat us up, devour us the way a lion would to one of its prey.
I feel an urgency to tell you dear reader that more than ever we must be sober and we must be vigilant. We must rid ourselves of all mixture, contaminants and negative issues of the heart so that we face the enemy head on, with no fear, with no intoxication and win the battles of life victoriously.