Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
Look out! A dangerous beast that can destroy you is lurking around, and is looking for prey. We think of the devil as someone who tempts us, who whispers in our ear or puts things in front of us to seduce us to sin. But he often does something much worse — he accuses us.
Satan is constantly working to hide the true work of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He wants us to feel guilty, and to be searching for any way to get rid of that feeling other than through Jesus. He wants to bring our failures constantly into our minds. He wants to magnify our past sins over and over. He wants us to feel useless. Unlike our Father, who may allow painful memories to being us to true repentance and forgiveness, Satan wants to use them to keep us wallowing in self-pity and rejection. He knows that this will destroy who we are.
God never accuses us, although he may use our guilt to convince us of our need for his salvation. His way is always one of love. God chooses to forgive us and to forget our sins. Satan wants us to hold on to them, to keep seeing “how bad we are” and who we have hurt. God says we are His blessed children. Satan wants us to believe we are completely unlovable. God says we are made to serve and glorify Him. Satan wants us to believe we are worthless. God powerfully but quietly covers us with His loving arms and protects us. Satan growls and slinks about wanting to destroy us.
Jesus provided a way of forgiveness and took away Satan’s ability to hold onto us with guilt and accusations. He may appear frightening as this roaring lion, but has no power unless we give into him. We stay watchful and attentive to Satan’s “roar”, but Jesus has tamed that lion’s ability to harm us.