Jason E. Fort
Self-Defense from the Lion that Devours
1 Peter 5:8
8 Be [a]sober, be [b]vigilant; [c]because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Many people hear the term self-defense in gospel conversation, and scoff because of other scripture references taken out of context, such as 'turn the other cheek,' as some end-all-be-all for all attacks against one's person. Other scoffers might ask, why do you need to know self-defense if you really trust God? I always say I trust God that he gave me a mind to think and not be helpless against those that might want to cause me harm. But let's look at another form of self-defense that scripture is pretty clear about...
It turns out God tells us, through Peter, that He wants us to watch out for the devil. He gives us very specific advice; we should be sober (alert), and vigilant (watchful), because our enemy, or adversary, walks about like a lion on the hunt. That lion on the hunt wants to devour your soul. But what does that mean? What does it have to do with self-defense?
In physical self-defense, there are three main principles that increase your odds in sudden violent encounters. First, one needs good situational awareness, and good sense on how to impact various potential situations. Secondly, one needs good self-awareness. A person needs to understand their own capabilities, common tactics of others, and how they can use their own capabilities to put odds in their favor. Thirdly, if a person has to use physical force to defend themselves, they should use sudden violence and force of action, surprising the enemy and creating opportunity for escape. If you think about the prey versus predator survival scenario, all of these principles hold true in order for the prey to escape.
But what in the world does this mean, against the supernatural adversary known as Satan - the devil? And is it enough just to escape Satan?
I've written in past posts about how one of our greatest problems in society is the mere ignorance of the reality of evil. Part of situational awareness in a spiritual self-defense is simply realizing how real Satan is. Once you acknowledge his existence, it's much easier to prepare for defense against him. Once that's out of the way, the concept of how to impact your situation against him is a little broader. Unfortunately, we cannot face Satan himself all alone. But with God - "forget about it," as the old mafia saying goes. Know the enemy is out there, and understand that it is impossible for that enemy to defeat God. How is your relationship with and knowledge of God?
Regarding the follow-up to that question, how well do you know your spiritual weaknesses? What tempts you the most? What kind of barriers can you put in place to make you less likely to give in to temptation? What activities can you participate in of a more wholesome nature, that may even bring you closer to God? Are you part of a local body of believers? There are scriptures that cite the importance and relevance of being part of the church body. 'No man is an island' is actually a sound worldly saying when it comes to facing temptation and Satan, or his many agents that walk this earth. Do you spend time with God in prayer? Do you spend time in God's Word? Do you ever do it with others?
Finally, there are those times when Satan or his demons attack. If you are already sober and vigilant, your proactive approach that you've taken by immersing yourself with God's wisdom and love can intercept Satan's attacks. Prayer with the Heavenly Father can cause Him to give you the strength you need to stand against some attacks. Understanding and going to scripture can help you combat those enemies of God that try to bring you down, or want to argue with you and deny you the possibility, or need, for salvation. The best defense against Satan is God, and God is your ultimate intercepting weapon.
That's it in a nut shell. If you think there's even a remote chance that all that 'Christian' talk of Satan and evil and salvation is true, perhaps it would be best to find out more (that knowledge, once you obtain it, is real wisdom). That way, when the evil lion of hell comes stalking at your door, you intercept him with the righteous Sword of the Spirit, and cut him down where he stands.
Food for thought...for more information, you can find out more details in the Bible.