I maneuvered my computer mouse, manipulating the digital image of a microscope slide on my computer screen. I was conducting a remote teaching conference for my dermatology residents and showing them a relatively common and benign skin tumor.
“When you take your dermatology board examinations, the examiners will show you classic examples of this tumor. I am pointing out the key features you need to know to confidently make this diagnosis. However, this is a controlled scenario. In real life, there are subtle variations that may mimic cancer. You need to be prepared to encounter this. It’s just like training for martial arts. There are techniques you need to master to do well to advance in ranking and to compete in tournaments. However, in a real life street fight, there are other things you have to be concerned about and you may not be able to fight in the same manner. Expect the unexpected.”
Most martial arts disciplines teach a regimented routine of exercises and drills that a student must master if they desire to advance. These techniques will definitely teach one the basics of self defense. However, this is for a tournament, a controlled situation. In a real life street life, expect the unexpected. Multiple assailants. Unconventional weapons. The list is endless and one must continually be on guard for these deceptions. The same is true for our spiritual lives.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
Satan doesn’t play by the rules. He is the father of lies and has been a deceiver since the beginning. What we think is an innocent or mundane situation can quickly escalate to an opportunity for Satan to manipulate and twist into a sinful encounter. The casual teasing. The missed appointment. We have all experienced it. How do we prepare for these inevitable encounters? God gives us the answer in the next verses.
Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.
1 Peter 5:9-10 (NLT)
Expect the unexpected. God will equip us with all that we need to withstand the wiles of the devil.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.