Are you prepared for a bear attack?
Our family recently took a vacation to the picturesque Grand Teton Mountains. The beauty of the Tetons is augmented with an abundance of wildlife: bald eagles in their tree-top nests, pronghorn and buffalo roaming the open prairie, elk and moose hiding in the riverside landscape.
But of all the wildlife, it was the bear that captivated our attention. Talk of bear sightings drew crowds of people hoping to catch a glimpse. Why? There is something captivating about a bear that appears simultaneously docile and dangerous.
Signs of warning about bear encounters were all around us, including the snatches of conversation about recent sightings, but they became very real one day during a hike in the mountains. As we arrived at the trailhead we were met with a sign indicating bear country. We downplayed the sign, even stopping to take a picture with its ominous warnings.
The hike was beautiful, leading us along a rolling stream that emptied into a beautiful mountainside lake. Most importantly, no sign of bears.
But that would soon change.
The hike was down and back. Down to the lake and back to the trailhead.
There were seven of us hiking that day, and on our way back we had split into two groups. About halfway back, the lead group suddenly stopped and I heard my daughter gasp loudly as her husband grabbed and pulled her back.
They had crossed paths with a large black bear no more than ten feet away! Alarmed and startled, we all froze! There was no time to think, no time to plan, instincts just kicked in.
The instinct to run was quickly overcome by a reality that all we could do was stop in our tracks. Try not to draw attention. Fortunately for us the bear had found what it was looking for. A bush full of berries. We waited. It ate. After a few minutes it walked directly across the hiking trail to more berries. Realizing we weren’t a target, we slowly moved ahead never taking our eyes off that bear.
We were fortunate that day. The danger was real but we didn’t heed the warnings and found ourselves unprepared.
This situation is much like Satan’s temptations. The Bible tells us “ . . . your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9). The devil lurks around every corner. He lures us with lies, things that look docile but prove to be dangerous. The question is not “will we have an encounter” only “when will we have an encounter.”
Christian, are you prepared for Satan’s attacks and temptations?
If you look closely at the sign we mockingly took a picture of that day, you’ll see five tactics to prepare for the inevitable bear encounter. They are tactics we can use to counter the attacks we will inevitably encounter with Satan.
- BE ALERT – I Peter 5 warns us to be alert. Be on guard. The devil doesn’t take days off. He’s active and we must anticipate his traps. He will use the good things of the world, the beautiful things to lure us into ease and comfort. Remember the warning that all good things become sinful things when we make them the main things. Heed the warning signs and avoid temptation when possible.
- MAKE NOISE – If sudden and loud noises don’t scare off the bear it will likely alert someone else that you’re in trouble and you need help. For a Christian, prayer is one of our strongest defenses against the traps and temptations of Satan. Make noise by calling out to God. I Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that when we are tempted God is faithful and will show us a way of escape. Call out to him – our deliverer.
- CARRY BEAR SPRAY – Roaming enemy territory unarmed is foolish – I can attest. Sometimes we must fight back. As a Christian, we have been given a fighting weapon – God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17) – sharper than a two-edged sword. When tempted, Jesus invoked scripture. We must be grounded in God’s Word so that we are fully equipped to use the truth of God to defeat Satan.
- AVOID HIKING ALONE – The best way to survive a bear attack is to outrun your partner, right? Well, that’s not exactly my point. We are not called to live this life alone. We are the body of Christ, sons and daughters called to love and support each other. We are to be there for one another, pointing out the warning signs, lifting each other up. “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).”
- DO NOT RUN – Don’t panic. Don’t be overcome by fear. The enemy can sense fear and will use it against you. Scripture reminds us that we are not alone and should not live in a spirit of fear. We have an advocate in Jesus – one who was “tempted in every way” (Hebrews 4:15). He knows. He’s been there and he won. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can endure. Trust Him. He will never leave or forsake you.
Are you prepared for Satan’s attacks and temptations?
- Be alert – Be on guard and avoid known areas of temptation.
- Make noise – Call out to God. Pray. He is our deliverer.
- Carry bear spray – You’ve been given a weapon – God’s Word. Know it and use it.
- Avoid hiking alone – Don’t try to go it alone.
- Do not run – Fear makes us vulnerable. Trust him fully. He will never leave or forsake you.