True story. My brother lives in central Florida. Over the last fifteen years, the area around where he lives has become home to a growing population of bears. There have been some attacks on people and many scary moments for others. Last year the state allowed a limited bear hunt in the area. Of course, many animal lovers were incensed by it. For my brother and his wife, it was a hard place. They love the bears but also see the danger, especially as more and more (foolish) people feed them (accidentally by leaving food in places they can get to or on purpose). Even baby bears, my sibling says, have claws four inches long.
Leaving food out attracts these wild–yes, wild–animals, and has the unwelcome effect of taking away their natural fear of man. Now that fear is replaced with the knowledge that man equals food. In fact, my brother said bears in his yard (houses around there have a few acres each and the area is wooded) have climbed a tree, wedged themselves in it, and then pulled up the bird feeder to get to the bird feed! Inadvertently, he was feeding the bears! He now has designed a bird feeder that is bear and squirrel proof! I told him to market it. 🙂
In addition, my brother and his wife love cats. They have house cats, but they have a few they’ve rescued as well. The rescued cats stay outside. The house cats are a little more trouble because they can’t have “doggie” doors where they live. Other animals like raccoons and coyotes manage to get in those doors, too. They were at a dilemma as to how to feed both sets of cats and allow the house cats to go in and out. Leaving the cat food outside didn’t work. That attracted the bears, too who liked it just as well as the bird seed. So, they decided to leave their garage door open a few inches. The rescued cats can come into the garage and get the food and also escape any number of predators.
Once in a while, when a house cat was outside, my sibling would leave the door from the garage to the kitchen open. He was reading in the living room one time when he heard a strange noise in the kitchen. Not a cat noise. He rose quietly and walked to the kitchen. Eating out of the cat dish in the kitchen was–you guessed it–a bear. A big bear.
Well, he yelled and jumped up and down and the bear took off back into the garage where it could not get out and ran round and round. He has since seen a bear stick its paws under the lowered garage door, then turn its head sideways and push through and then somehow get its whole body under the door to get inside! But this bear–in a fit of panic–could not do that. My brother said he slid his hand around the door jam to hit the garage door button and then slammed the kitchen door shut again. The bear escaped and so did my sibling!
Now yelling and jumping up and down doesn’t always work with the bears. So many people are feeding them or putting their garbage into non-bearproof garbage cans, that many are no longer are afraid of people. As I mentioned before, now people equate to food. Not a smart or safe thing.
We all laughed when my brother told this story, but I could see the spiritual application immediately. Here it is–short and sweet, I hope. Satan is alive and well on planet earth, and Christians need to realize he’s a very present danger. Oh, he disguises himself as an angel of light sometimes (My brother says the cubs are soooo cute!), but Satan is not just dangerous but deadly.
If we feed our enemy, the devil, we can expect him to slip under the doors and into our house (our lives). If we don’t run him off and close the doors, he will come in again. That happened with my brother. Wake up, please! The attacks on the people in central Florida are real. The enemy of our souls is real, too. Think about this: How is your TV watching? Your internet viewing? Your thinking and talking? How often are you too busy to read your Bible? Are you a soldier in God’s army or have you already been captured by worldly desires?
If the bear is in your kitchen, jump, shout, do whatever needs to be done to run him off–and give him a wide door to go through–then close it.
Take a minute and identify one area where you’ve allowed the enemy to come in and determine how you will get him out and keep him him out. Then do that.
Be alert and of (a) sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion (or bear?) looking for someone to devour.
1Peter 5:8 NIV