Imagine a Massai warrior standing an arm’s length from the mouth of a lion! On our first mission trip to Kenya, the regional Bishop took our team of five under his wing and introduced us to the precious Kenyan people and their amazing culture. We were all engrossed in his story as we drove through the rice fields, sugar cane, coffee and tea plantations. We had been ministering two services a day for almost a week at different churches throughout the region. Heading back to our hotel, Bishop decided to take us the long way home so that we could see the prolific produce in the Mt. Kenya area. Bishop was teaching us the culture of the Massai people although Mt. Kenya is predominantly populated by the Kikuyu and Swahili people.
The Massai tribes live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Their home is on the Serengeti where they herd their cattle and goats among the lions and other predators. Some have called their tribe the “lion killers” because of their on-going necessity to protect their herds. They live together with extended family for protection. Their large compound is constructed with an open area in the center encircled by a tall thorny fence of thickly compressed acacia tree branches. The cattle pen has one opening which is barricaded at night. They often designate one warrior to sleep in the pen with the herd for protection.
The perimeter of the compound is surrounded by Bomas, which are small straw huts built with thin tree branches overlaid with a strong mortar of clay and cow dung. Their roof is made of thatch and cow dung making it waterproof and sturdy. The mixture adheres to the materials providing a tough structure that also insulates against weather.
During the daytime the cattle are driven by Massai on the Serengeti but at night they are steered into the center of the compound for protection. The thorny fence is their only fortification from lions on the prowl for a meal. A lion that breeches the wall will meet a formidable challenge from Massai warriors in the camp. When a young Massai comes of age, his rite of manhood is proven by his ability to kill a lion.
The Massai clothing is very colorful. The men wear a shuka, which is a red robe with striped, plaid or checkered patterns often with bright red and royal blue. They believe the color red scares the lions. The Bishop told us it is apparent that lions purposefully try to avoid the Massai because they must connect their shuka with those who are lion killers. (My pictures are from a mission trip to Tanzania in 2010).
The men drape their large beautiful robe around their body for covering but it has versatile functions. The women wear long, one and two piece dresses that are colorful, and wrap a cape around their shoulders. They have beautiful vibrant beaded necklaces and earrings for their jewelry. Their shoes are sandals made of leather or more currently, old rubber tires. A warrior will carry a spear and a large knife (sword) at all times. Herding cattle can be dangerous both day and night but the Massai warrior is fearless and well equipped to oppose a lion.
Bishop continued his story about the Massai warrior. When he is attacked by a lion, the Massai removes his robe and wraps it around one forearm. His sword is in the opposite hand. He moves into close range and when the lion charges and opens his mouth, the warrior thrusts the forearm into his mouth grabbing his tongue in a death grip rendering him helpless and unable to bite. He then thrusts his sword into the lion killing him with one swift blow! The Massai are courageous and they are able to guard their families and cattle by disabling the tongue of the lion!
The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:8, “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined]…” Peter is directing the church to be prepared to withstand any persecution or suffering required because of the Gospel. He counsels believers to walk in humility submitting to those the Lord has placed in the church to encourage, guide and direct them in the ways of the Lord. He also warns them of the devil who is constantly seeking for an opening to bring destruction in their lives. He charges us to withstand the devil being firm in our faith in God. Hosea 4:8 explains, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [of my law, where I reveal My will]. Because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge…”
James, the brother of Jesus encouraged the church, “So be subject to God, Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. Notice, the scriptures do not say God will remove the devil from us. Instead, it says we are to withstand the devil’s attacks. We are called to be lion killers! James 4:6 explains, “But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).” Our strength comes from the Holy Spirit and our faith in God. He gives us the strength to withstand temptations when they come whether to sin against the Lord or to doubt or fear his ability to save us from trouble.
Now, let’s examine the Massai warrior with spiritual eyes. The Massai warrior trains to become a lion killer. It does not happen accidentally nor does his strength come by simply being born a Massai. It comes through study and practice. A young Massai is trained by the elders who teach him the authority he has over the lion. There is a process they use when they approach the lion or the lion approaches them. James gave us a spiritual process for defeating the devil: 1) submit to God, 2) resist the devil and he will flee.
Isaiah 54:17 proclaims, “But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong (condemn). This [peace, righteousness security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification says the Lord.” (Emphasis mine).
Paul instructed the Ephesian church to daily put on their armor in order to be prepared for battle. “Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].” Ephesians 6:13. The entire passage continues to list the armor we have been given by the Lord: belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Our belt of truth protects our innermost being. It is the knowledge of the truth that sets us free. God’s truth is the Rock of our foundation upon which we stand. The breastplate of righteousness covers our heart. Out of our heart flow the issues of life. We are righteous because of our repentance of sin and trust in the redeeming work of the cross of Jesus Christ. Our righteousness gives us the ability to stand in the authority of Christ daily. When we trust in the Lord completely, we will be shod with peace and walk in peace wherever we go. His peace guards our heart and ensures we are in His will. Faith is a gift from the Lord. The shield of faith is developed by hearing the Word of God. It could come from a message preached, Bible study/reading or the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. The helmet of salvation represents the Mind of Christ Jesus. It is the mind of the Spirit and not of the flesh. The sword of the spirit is the Word of God. Our authority comes by using the Word of God in faith. When we submit to the Lord’s will, speak His Word to the problem (storms, trouble) standing in faith, he must flee. We must KNOW that God will back up His Word!
The Massai warrior places his robe (of righteousness representing the authority of Christ) upon his arm so that he might grab the tongue of the lion without suffering injury. He then thrusts the sword (Word of God) into his heart to disable and destroy his ability to kill. The tongue of the lion represents the accusations, lies and fears the enemy uses to cause us to doubt God. The result is our being surrounded by confusion, fear and defeat. He is the “accuser” of the brethren. Once our past has been confessed and buried in the waters of baptism, we are clothed in the Righteousness of Christ Jesus. The enemy no longer has the right to accuse us unless we allow him by not closing his mouth. The devil is always trying to speak lies, fearful scenarios of disaster and accusations to draw our attention from the Lord which in turn gives him more power.
We must grab hold of the devil’s tongue with a death grip to silence all the attacks. We do that by “throwing the Book at him”! The Bible is the Word of God and it is filled with truth. There are scriptures for every need we could possibly have in life and they are powerful at pulling down strongholds the enemy has erected in our lives. There are 365 scriptures in the Bible regarding fear where the Lord encourages us to fear not. We could read a different one every day of the year. There are also scriptures regarding healing, finances, relationships, marriage and so on. When the devil tries to take us down in circumstances, thoughts or by others all we need to do is get in our prayer closet and speak the word of God to each one. We also need to remind him and ourselves who we are in Christ.
When Jesus was raised from the dead and preparing to ascend into heaven, he left his disciples with one powerful declaration. “All authority (all power and rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.
Paul taught that we are now seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. “And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” The scepter of authority has been given to us. The devil has no jurisdiction over us unless we grant it to him. Wherever we find ourselves under his rule (or torment) we have been given the responsibility with the authority from heaven, to shut the mouth of the lion by thrusting the Word of God into his heart.
The Word of God is a lethal weapon against the enemy and when used in faith, our victory is sure. Knowing God’s Word and using it properly enables us to defeat every giant we face. God’s Word is the rock David used and faith in God is the sling that hurls the rock into the head of the enemy. Our strength comes when we walk humbly before our God submitting to His will and His Word. We are then able to stand and resist the devil and he MUST flee! It is then we will give him “No Place to Light”!