It seems like it was just yesterday. But, it was in the spring of 1991 that I made an exciting discovery. I was reminded of this discovery while reading Kathy’s blog entry at Beauangel’s World. I think the first entry she made was back on June 21. She called it Papa Bird. Well, her post made me think of a tiny little bird’s nest I discovered nestled in the branches of a bush just outside my dining room window.
As I continued to keep my eyes on it, I discovered that a pair of cardinals was making it their home. One morning, much to my delight, I saw the eggs for the first time. Baby birds in the making. How fascinating!
Soon, the eggs hatched and my fascination soared to new heights. Tiny little birds now filled the nest with life. They came into the world with ravenous appetites, for Mama and Papa Bird were working at a frenetic pace in an effort to fill their bellies. I had box seats for the whole show.
How quickly those little creatures grow! My careful peeks through the drapes became almost a ritual. My wide-eyed children could hardly wait for the show. Then, one morning before the family was up-and-about; I decided to sneak a peek. It was gone! The nest was gone!
As I went rushing out the back door, a sad reality stopped me dead in my tracks. For, just as I opened the door, a scruffy looking calico cat scrambled out of the bush, making a hasty exit through the bushes near the back of the yard. The evidence on the ground below the bush where the nest had been was ominous. Those cute little, fluffy little, chirping sensations that had given me and my family so much joy had been devoured by a cat on the prowl.
It makes you think, doesn’t it? There are so many dangers in the world—so many things to be concerned about. If to be forewarned is to be forearmed, and I believe it is, we need to be reminded of what the Holy Spirit had the tried and tested Apostle Peter write. We find these words in 1 Peter 5:8. Here Peter warns, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
There are many things come to mind when I think about this sobering reality. Some of these are:
(1) In view of the fact that we have an enemy—the evil one, in Jesus’ words—we need to pray–pray–pray…
“…bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13, ASV)
(2) Since we are involved in spiritual warfare, we need to put on the full armor of God…
10-12…God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (Ephesians 6:10-18, The Message)
(3) Since one of our daily struggles is with the sinful nature* we must walk by the Spirit…
5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. 7The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:5-17, TNIV)
When I think again about that cat on the prowl, one other important point comes to mind. I’m especially mindful of how vulnerable our children, with their fledgling faith, really are. It is the most vulnerable that the devil seeks to devour. The evil one will stop at nothing. He will attempt to come right into our midst and rob the nest. If we wait until we hear the branches rustling it may just be too late! It is my heart’s desire and prayer that we will take our children by “the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” (cf. Ephesians 6:4, The Message)
© Bill Williams
July 13, 2006
*(the sinful nature or the flesh, σάρξ, in this usage it “denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God.” –Thayer)