Take Heed, Lest You Fall

It was a beautiful day at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL.  The fragrance of hundreds of colorful flowers, the warm sunshine, and the smiles on the faces of children all combined for a wonderful experience.

But, on May 12, 2002, little did a twenty-one year old Busch Gardens employee suspect her life was about to change forever.

The Associate Press article reported that, while she was giving her family a “behind the scenes” tour of the theme park, she stopped to show off the park’s 350 lb. male lion.

Details are sketchy.  At the time the article was published, it was not clear if she had reached through the perimeter of the enclosure, or actually entered the lion’s space.  What is clear is that, suddenly, with lightning speed, the lion lunged at the employee. His massive jaws clamped down onto her arm like a steel trap, severing her arm at the elbow.   Screaming and chaos ensued.  But, the damage had already been done.

What struck me about this story was not so much the ferocity of the lion as it was the surprise of the attack.  This employee was no inexperienced passerby visiting the zoo.  She was trained, no doubt believing she was taking proper precautions in dealing with the lion.

Alas, somewhere during those few moments, she made herself vulnerable.  And that’s when the lion struck.

Our enemy, the devil, rarely approaches when we are expecting him.  He’s far too smart for that.  He revels in the thought that we, at some point, will relax around him, foolishly believing we have him all figured out.

The Bible, however, says the devil is a diabolical supernatural being, trained over millennia to study both our weaknesses and weak moments.  He bides his time.

Then, when he sees an opening, with lightning speed, he strikes.

But, instead of losing an arm, we’re left with a lost reputation, shredded integrity, a severed relationship, or broken fellowship with God.

Paul warned the Corinthians,

“Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], be careful and take heed that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation].”

So, before you bound out of bed each morning and rush out the door, remember this: Satan has spent all night waiting for your next unguarded moment.