Tame the Beast

by Jay Hernandez, Evangelist

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.” 1 Peter 5:8-9.

The UH Hilo Dorms bibletalk celebrates after Ryne's baptism.

I have read this scripture no fewer than five times in the past few weeks, each time trying to help an individual or group of people deal with the daily battles that disciples of Jesus have to face. Satan is a very real presence in our lives. In Revelation 12:12 we are warned “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”

How do you picture Satan? Do you take him for granted? Today, I want to give us some practical advice on how to defeat this very cunning and dangerous adversary. Today, I want to help you “Tame the Beast.”

The verses above in 1 Peter give us four keys to winning the victory over Satan. They are: being self-controlled; being alert; resisting him by standing firm in the faith; and being focused on our brothers/sisters all over the world. Let’s take a closer look at each of these tools.

First, self-control: At first glance, it would seem that this is a false tool. None of us has the power on our own to fight and defeat Satan because we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We are sinful, and only through Jesus can we make it to heaven. However, the bible also assures us that we can indeed win the battle. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3. This scripture teaches us that we can show self-control because he has given us everything we need to be godly. God has equipped us with the right tools to be self-controlled. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. So, our self-control is our choice. He provides the tools for us to demonstrate self-control, and he provides a way out. We just have to decide to take it.

Evan and Kelly Bartholomew are off to San Diego!

Secondly, 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be alert. We have to keep watch. The herds in Africa being stocked by lions must live on high alert for 24 hours every day. The lions are always watching, and looking for weakness. Satan is watching us too, so we must be in a constant state of alertness. We need to learn when we are most vulnerable to attack. Zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles know they are most vulnerable around water; at early dawn and in the evening, because that is when the lions hunt the most. For me, I know I become more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks if it regards my boys or my wife. I know that if I get too hungry, I can become more susceptible to his schemes. Also, I know I must watch my eyes wherever I go. The bible provides us some practical advice on how we can stay alert: Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

How has your prayer life been lately? Are you staying alert to Satan’s schemes in prayer? Are you aware of his schemes in the lives of your brothers and sisters? We have to honestly assess the temptations we are facing and be alert. Satan’s eyes are constantly watching us. He is constantly roaming the earth looking for someone to devour.

Our third tool in the fight against this terrifying beast is actually a two-sided weapon: resistance and standing firm. These two go together. We not only need to say, “No” to unrighteousness; we need to say, “Yes” to faith and godliness. Eph 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self , which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self , created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Again we see this theme. The putting off is excellent, but it is worthless if we do not put on our new self. The first step is to say no. We do this by holding onto God’s grace in our lives. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” Titus 2. Paul, like Peter, coupled self-control with saying, “No”. We have to make the mental decision to focus on God’s grace and mercy instead of our selfish, worldly desires.

Our newest brother, Vince, surrounded by the UH Hilo Dorms Bibletalk!

In Romans 12:1, we are told to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, but only after we have looked at God’s mercy. Our biggest motivation needs to be God’s mercy for us, and for those around us. We must offer our bodies as living sacrifices but that can only happen when we are focused on the grace and mercy we have been shown. Once we have said, “No” to our evil, former ways; we need to say, “Yes” to righteousness. We do this by putting into practice the righteous lifestyle we have learned. In Matthew 7, in the parable of the builder, we are reminded that it is not just those who hear Jesus words that are building on the rock; it is those who put his teachings into practice that are considered wise. Jesus tells us to practice what we preach, or we too will be Pharisees (Matthew 23). Also in Luke 8, he says those who practice what he preaches are his mother and brothers. We have to be great students, and practitioners to be considered wise builders and family members with Jesus in God’s kingdom. Say, ”Yes” as well as, “No” to fight against Satan’s schemes in our lives.

Finally, the scripture reminds us we are not alone in the battle. Our brothers all over the world are undergoing the same trials; the same temptations; the same attacks. Christianity is not meant to be lived alone. The bible calls us: the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27); the temple of God, his household (Ephesians 2:19-22). We are told to: confess our sins and pray for each other so we may be healed (James 5:16); love one another (John 13:34); to be devoted and honor one another (Romans 12:10); and to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13). When Satan tries to attack us, we need to reach out for help and turn to each other. You are not alone; you are not the only one going through what you are going through. You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses so throw off the things that are holding you back. In an epic youtube video “The Battle at Kruger”, a young water buffalo is nearly killed by a pride of lions and a crocodile, but the other water buffalo come and save it. Watch the video, and then do the same for your brothers and sisters.

The Hernandez family enjoy some sights around Hawai‘i Island!

We are in a real battle. Not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil that roam this planet. We have taken a stand. We are in the army of God, and now we must do the fighting that will assure us of the victory. We can be assured of this: the battle will be sometimes vicious; and sometimes hurtful; we will all be wounded at one point or another. But with the spiritual weapons we have been given, we can win the war. The enemy was vanquished at one point and cast from heaven. Revelations 12:11 “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Let the enemy lay vanquished on the battlefield as we also overcome him by Jesus’ blood and our testimony. Be self-controlled and alert. Say “No”, to sin and “Yes”, to righteousness, and fight for our brothers and sisters all over the world. Tame the beast and glorify God. God Bless.

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