Amateur Lion Taming

Here we must carefully note that it is not in our power to engage that great warrior the devil in combat, or to bear his force and onslaught.  Otherwise it would be pointless or a mockery to ask of God what we already have in ourselves [“deliver us from evil”].  Obviously those who prepare for such a combat  do not sufficiently understand with what a ferocious and well-equipped enemy they have to deal.  Now we seek to be freed from his power, as from the jaws of a mad and raging lion (1 Pet.5:8); if the Lord did not snatch us from the midst of death, we could not help being immediately torn to pieces by his fangs and claws, and swallowed down his throat.

Yet, we know that if the Lord be with us, and fight for us while we keep still, “in His might we shall do mightily” (Ps.60:12).  Let others trust as they will in their own capacities and powers of free choice, which they seem to themselves to possess.  For us let it be enough that we stand and are strong in God’s power alone. –John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559)


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