Proceed With Caution
When you think of Satan, what image comes to mind, if any? Do you see him as the little red-faced guy, wearing a red cape, sporting a pointed beard and carrying a pitchfork? Maybe you see him a little clearer, as a wolf in sheep's clothing. It's important to recognize Satan, but how we picture him is probably not as important as our knowledge about how he works.
Matt 7:15 describes false prophets, agents of Satan, as ravening wolves who parade around looking like sheep. Secretly they sneak into the flock and wait for their chance. Churches and individual Christians need to keep a keen eye open for these, as do the shepherds who keep watch over the flock.
Peter, in 1 Peter 5:8 gives us a stern warning that Satan "walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour". When you read that, do you picture Satan as a lion roaring loudly as he slowly strolls toward you? Maybe you picture him sitting on a hillside roaring like 'Leo', that 'MGM' lion that roars while rotating his head when the movie starts. I think at times, both of those may be correct, but it's not those that I worry so much about.
While it bothers me greatly that Satan is so voicesterous and visible in the world in which I must live, I don't worry so much about him being "out there" where I can see him and hear him. I worry more about him being just a few feet away from me, waiting for me to step within striking distance. I worry about him being nestled quietly in the grass, sitting still and quiet until I step off the path just a bit. I worry about him being around the next corner, waiting in the shadows for me to unsuspectingly walk by. In other words, I worry about him being patient until my moment of weakness.
Friend today know this, he creeps up on us, inches at a time, and then sits motionless, totally quiet until we step close enough for him to pounce. Yes, he has to work harder to get to God loving God fearing Christians, but he's a hungry lion, and he will go to extremes to get to the hard to reach prey. He's already got the easy prey for his main course but he also wants some dessert. That's why scripture tells us to be sober-minded, to be cautious, and to know who our adversary is and how he acts.
A few years ago in a post, I asked if you pictured this devil, described as a roaring lion in scripture, like the innocent little lion in the movie 'The Lion King', or if you saw him as a nasty, ferocious beast, with blood dripping from his teeth. Today that question is still valid, we must know Satan isn't an innocent cartoon character, he's a threat to our very lives and souls, and he is quick, powerful, and hungry. Sometimes we know where he is and we avoid him. Or we see him clearly and foil his plans. But he is clever, cunning, and crafty, and seldom announces his presence or his intentions?
May God grant us knowledge, and the ability to apply that knowledge through wisdom to see Satan for what he is and thwart any plans he may have for us.