[forthright] Bear-proof Camps

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 12:12:12 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Field Notes

Bear-proof Camps
by Michael E. Brooks

   "Be sober, be vigilant; because your
   adversary the devil walks about like a
   roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
   Resist him, steadfast in the faith ..."
   (1 Peter 5:8-9a).

In the course of my work I am occasionally in
remote wilderness areas. Sometimes these are the
habitat of wild and dangerous animals. Prudence
demands taking reasonable precautions against
attack.

As an example, when staying over in bear country
one must "bear-proof" his camp. He should keep all
food and cooking odors away from sleeping areas,
make loud noises as one moves through areas of
limited visibility, avoid spills of any sort that
would attract hungry bears, and take other similar
precautions.

Similarly, in the Sunderbans where Bengal tigers
kill several people each year, great caution must
be exercised at all times. The tiger is there, he
is dangerous, and one simply must travel with that
awareness, or survival is doubtful.

Christians are reminded that we are constantly in
"bear country." Or perhaps we might state it more
biblically – "lion country." This lion is not of
the four-footed, black-maned, long-toothed,
African variety. He is much more dangerous than
that.

The devil, Satan, continuously stalks us, seeking
to devour (destroy) us. When one travels in
mountain areas of the U.S., or mangrove swamps of
Asia, he knows he is in the home habitat of
dangerous beasts. As long as we are in the
material world we are in the home habitat of
Satan. We must take great precautions if we are to
survive.

Peter cautions us, first of all, to be sober. This
term certainly includes the idea of having one's
senses under control. We cannot afford to be under
the influence of anything that makes us
incautious. Beverage alcohol, mind-altering drugs
and other worldly pleasures can intoxicate us to
the point of reckless abandon and extreme
vulnerability. In this dangerous world we must use
all the knowledge and wisdom in avoiding sin which
God gives us. But in Scripture sobriety carries
another meaning. It also suggests seriousness of
thought. Life is too important to spend in
frivolity and silliness. We must concentrate on
important matters, major in essentials. Only by
doing so can we match the deadly earnestness with
which our enemy stalks us.

Secondly, Peter warns us to be vigilant. Someone
has said, "If you see a tiger, he already has
you." That may or may not be the case. One thing
is for sure though, I don't want the tiger to see
me first! I will continue to watch for any sign of
his presence in hope that I may be able to
withstand him or avoid him if he is there. In the
case of Satan, we know he is there and our only
hope is to continuously be alert for his attacks
that we may recognize and overcome them.

Finally, Peter gives us the means of successful
resistance to the devil's attacks. We must be
"steadfast in the faith." We are no match for
Satan alone, but we are not alone. Jesus is with
us. Paul proudly affirmed, "I can do all things
through Christ who strengthens me" ( Philippians
4:13). It is more than confident belief in Christ
that is needed, however. It is steadfastness in
his way that is required. If we faithfully follow
Jesus' instructions we will overcome our enemy and
defeat him in any and every battle.

Yes, we are in "lion country". Let us be sober,
vigilant, and steadfast in the faith.

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