This morning, I was listening to a sermon on spiritual warfare. I suddenly realized that Satan lives in my house!
You see, last summer we had a horrible gopher problem. Every morning we would peek out our back door to see three or four new gopher mounds. We googled to find any hints and tips, and we tried everything we found. The first line of defense was smoke bombs. My kids loved these, but they failed to get rid of the problem. So we moved on to poison. When that didn’t work, we set traps. Someone suggested putting pinwheels around my yard, claiming that the vibrations from the spinning toy chased them away. Yet someone else told us that Juicy Fruit gum was poisonous and yet irresistible to gophers.
Finally, the neighbor had a litter of kittens. My children, of course, fell in love with the sweet, fuzzy felines and begged me to let them have one. I decided that perhaps a cat would be the perfect solution to the gopher problem. So, my children picked out an adorable tabby kitten and brought her home. That’s when Satan moved into my house!
Please understand that I am not anti-cat. We had multiple cats growing up, and we loved them all. But this cat is different! She is a demon-possessed critter! She claws and bites. She destroys anything in her path. She eats the dog food and refuses to share. She is simply evil!
…for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14
You see, just as my cat hides behind an adorable exterior, Satan appears to be beautiful. But, when you get behind the façade that he puts on, he is truly evil. His plan is not to give you abundant life, but to steal, kill, and destroy the good plans God has for you.
Tigresse (aka Satan) has always loved to hunt. As a tiny kitten, we would watch her crouch down and stalk anything that moved. Recently, my dad saw her intently watching the water meter. He thought she might have a gopher cornered, but it was actually just a bull frog. We have watched her pounce on spiders and june bugs. She has been to the storm shelter with us, and she attacked a few legs that moved. Nothing is safe from this cat!
This cat thinks she owns the entire neighborhood. She prowls around day and night, seeking refuge in any open garage. She spends her days wandering through my yard, scavenging through the culverts, finding any place that she thinks she can make her own. She has been found in the neighbors’ garage at night, and has even walked in neighbors open doors! She knows no boundaries, and she is constantly on the prowl.
She also has an insatiable appetite! She devours anything and everything. As a tiny kitten, she would prevent our dog from eating because she so viciously took over his food bowl and kept him away. She eats human food and dog food (although she doesn’t have much of an appetite for cat food), spiders and june bugs. She’s even been known to feast on rat poison without any ill effects! I really don’t know how she does it, but there is no stopping this feline from eating!
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8b
If you watch a cat, it’s no wonder that Peter chose to describe the devil as a feline—although one much larger and more powerful than Tigresse. Just as our cat is always on the prowl for someone or something that is unaware of her presence, the Bible tells us Satan is doing the same thing! He is crouching at the door, watching for the slightest movement. When he makes his move, you can be certain that he will devour his prey. And, like Tigresse, his appetite is insatiable.
Because I have three children ages 8-13, I spend a lot of time in my vehicle running kids from activity to activity. I haul a lot of dirty, sweaty sports gear—and dirty, sweaty kids—and my vehicle seems to always smell like a locker room. I have tried Scentsy, febreze, and any number of other products, but the smell just seems to linger. Recently, I decided to simply air out the vehicle. I cracked my windows just ever so slightly and went in the house to finish getting ready for work.
As I drove down the road to work, I heard this sweet, innocent, “Meow…” I turned around to find Tigresse lounging in my backseat! I am SO thankful she let out a sweet sound rather than choosing to sneak up next to me and pounce on me! I would have either died from a heart attack or a motor vehicle accident!
Be alert and of sober mind. 1 Peter 5:8a
Isn’t that just like Satan? We often want to leave just a small crack thinking it will never be enough to throw us off track. It will be ok if we watch this movie, read this book, or ____(fill in the blank)_____. It won’t hurt us. But the truth is, when we leave just a small opening, we are allowing enough room for Satan to come in and quietly invade our lives! God calls us to be single-minded, fully devoted, perfect, and holy. That description leaves NO room for even a crack in the armor! Our lives must be air-tight to avoid getting pulled into Satan’s traps.
My dad recently watched as Tigresse was hiding in his flower bed. She crouched down as if she was hunting, but instead she was only pawing at the leaves on the flowers. She would swat at them, and as they moved, she would roll over on her back and play with them. She was having the time of her life!
One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied….The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Just as Tigresse loves to play with anything that moves, Satan loves to toy with us—to see if he can get us to turn our backs on our Savior. He loves to have a heyday at our expense! He loves to see marriages fall apart, families torn asunder by infidelity and financial issues. He loves to see us floundering aimlessly because we can’t get our focus on God. He loves to play with anything we might leave dangling within his grasp! Fortunately, he cannot touch anything that God doesn’t allow him to touch.
As Paul introduces the spiritual armor, he says,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11
If we aren’t prepared, Satan will come pounce on us when we are not prepared. We must be vigilant in our walk with Christ so that we are never taken by surprise. We must be certain that we are properly clothed in the spiritual armor every single day. We must have the Word of God deep within us so that we might defeat Satan.
As much as I enjoy comparing my cat to Satan, the truth is that we can’t blame Satan for every problem in our lives—even though we might want to. You see, Satan is not omni-present (all-present) like God. He is not omniscient (all-seeing). He is not omnipotent (all-powerful). When we allow little sins to seep into our lives, we are allowing an opening for evil. We are giving the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27).
Much of the evil and pain we attribute to Satan is really a result of our own sinful desires.
but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15
I would love to blame all of my problems on Satan, but I can’t. More often than not, the devil doesn’t make me do it; I choose to do it because I want to fulfill my own sinful desires. I want the temporary pleasures of this world more than I want the eternal rewards promised to me for a life well-lived.
As I grow in Christ, I find that His way is truly perfect. As I seek Him daily, seek to make Him the central focus of my life, I get to enjoy all of the perfect blessings and abundance that He planned for me: peace that surpasses all understanding, joy, contentment. My life is so much sweeter as I walk with Him!
I guess for now I will continue to live with Satan—at least the one at my house. But, I will continue to do everything I can to keep the real Satan out. We bathe our home in praise music 24/7. We have canceled subscription television so that we are not allowing inappropriate viewing into our home. Since I find myself single and dating again, I am trying to find God’s way of dating—which for me means simply waiting for God to bring the right man to me rather than dating as our culture says I should. I initiate discussions about purity with my children—and attempt to model purity for them. We are very cautious about the things we allow to entertain us.
I am certain that we are a very weird family to the outside world, but I would rather be weird by the world’s standards and know that I am providing a safe haven for my children! The peace and joy that we experience in our home is worth every ounce of weirdness! It’s great to know that my kids will experience a childhood where Satan is not given a foothold. Hopefully, as they grow they will learn to detect Satan’s cunning ways so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:13b).
(P.S. Satan has redeemed herself! Last night, we caught her feasting on a couple of mice she apparently found enticing. And that, my friends, is why I have Satan living at my house!)