My neighbor had a big dog in her backyard when I was growing up. She kept him on a chain that stretched about 15 feet or so and he could run almost a full circle around the post to which his chain was attached. Our instructions were simple. If our neighbor wasn’t in the backyard – DON’T GO NEAR THE DOG.
When she was in the yard I liked to get close enough to pet the dog. After all, I am an animal lover. One day I was in MY backyard playing and I glanced over at her dog…all alone in the backyard. I wondered…did he have food in his bowl? was he out of water? had anyone petted him yet today so he would feel loved? Curiosity drew me closer and closer to the circle that dog was able to run on his chain. He was perfectly safe.
The closer I got to him the more confident I was that this dog knew me and would welcome me into his circle. But that was not the case. As soon as I stepped into his space that very big dog growled and lunged at me…right for my throat! I fell backward but not before he got a bite.
That day I learned an important lesson about following instructions, not letting overconfidence lead me into dangerous territory…and that there is a very real enemy…that sometimes disguises himself as something he is not. 1 Peter 5:8 is very clear. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
The enemy doesn’t always appear dangerous. Sometimes he disguises himself and tries to make us think that there’s no danger there. Don’t be fooled by his tactics. Listen to God’s instruction – stay alert! And stay out of the enemy’s path!