Enormous, yellow fangs, dripping with slobber, and hot, angry eyes were all I saw as a German Shepherd hurtled across the lawn at me. I was walking to my first grade class at Clinton School, just cresting the rise on South Hamilton St., when I first encountered the beast from Hell. He almost got me; i was too scared to run. But just before his vicious teeth clamped around my face, the chain went taut and he was yanked back off his deadly trajectory. Stephen King couldn’t have scripted it any better. Who would do that to little kids on their way to school? I picture an old, twisted, asthmatic geezer, rubbing his hands and cackling with glee. Fact is, first grade wasn’t much better, but that’s a different story…
You never knew when that dog would be out. Every day, on my way to school, I had to convince myself that the chain would hold, that he couldn’t get me. Eventually, I learned to really trust it.
You and I are in a similar situation with Satan. John says:
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God [Jesus] keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. (1 John 5:18 – my added explanation)
Read this right: It doesn’t say a believer is never tempted and never sins, but that he or she does not continue on that course as an habitual, regular lifestyle. It does not say we have to try hard to be good. It says Jesus keeps us safe. The evil one cannot harm us. Literally, he cannot fasten himself on to us. This is not meant to scare us, but rather, to reassure us. We are meant to be encouraged and trust Jesus to keep us safe. From time to time Satan will come flying out and attempt to make us think we are goners. But Jesus holds the chain.