Early this morning, while sitting outside and enjoying these unseasonably cool temperatures, a mosquito moved across my field of vision. As ridiculous as it sounds, I imagined that if I kept completely still, he wouldn’t see me and move on to another victim. I’m no entomologist, but I’m fairly certain mosquitos don’t rely on their sense of sight when seeking out a meal, but their sense of smell, and my odor is unfortunately not something I can simply turn off when the need arises.
In the passage quoted above, Peter warns his fellow believers to be on the lookout for the devil, whom he compares to a lion lurking about, searching for its prey. While lions are expert predators, their scarcity in North America may cause us to not take Peter’s warning too seriously. But mosquitos, on the other hand, are something we are intimately familiar with. If you imagine the devil to be one of them, you’ll get a better sense of what Peter is getting at. Like mosquitos on a warm summer evening, the devil has an uncanny ability to find us wherever we may be and do whatever he can to make our lives miserable by tempting us to sin. I’m not referring here primarily to temptations of the flesh. As James reminds us, those more often arise from desires within; the devil simply makes us aware of the opportunity. No, I think the type of temptation Peter has in mind here is more than likely a temptation to be overcome with doubt or despair. The devil wants nothing more than to make us forget that God loves us and that God is present with us in the midst of whatever we are going through.
I think this is a situation where being completely still may actually be the answer. By that I don’t mean motionless, but resting in God’s presence, relying on his strength and trusting in his power, which is infinitely greater than that of the devil. While you rest in God’s presence, remember these words from Paul, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV).