having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. avoid such people. [2 timothy 3:5]

wolves. wolves are predators. wolves are scary predators.

a couple of summers ago my brother and i took a long trip through wyoming and montana. part of that time, we did some back country back-packing in yellowstone. it was intense. it was beyond intense. it was beyond intense because of the wolves. yellowstone is best known for its geysers and its grizzly bears. grizzly’s are beautiful and dangerous creatures. the amount of grizzly attacks to wolf attacks is about 30 to 1 in yellowstone. you are much more likely to encounter a grizzly than a wolf in yellowstone for all sorts of reasons. this is fact according to all the statistics. but wolves still scare me more. why? first, they are meat eating predators. they specifically hunt meat for every meal. bears, while the eat meat, are omnivores. they eat fruits, plants, meat, fish, and more. second, wolves hunt in packs.  they stalk and hunt.

while we were in yellowstone, we did not come face to face with either. but, we did come close to some wolves. and in the grand scheme of things, i don’t think my internal “go time” adrenaline button ever got shut down til we got back into our jeep.

wolves. wolves are predators. wolves are scary predators.

God warns us about wolves in his word. [matt 7:15; matt 10:16; john 10:12; acts 20:29] wolves are usually always a reference to predators who are loose in the body of Christ. wolves are there to hurt, to lead astray, to deceive, to demoralize. they are there to destroy lives. and, God in his loving kindness warns us about them. notice the warning to the church in ephesus from God through paul:

i know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; [acts 20:29]

the great danger to the church was not rome or persecution (and those were real dangers). no, God knew that persecution usually grew the church. the greatest danger to the life of the church was and still is internal. here, the warning is to look out for fierce wolves that will 1) come in among you, and 2) not spare the flock. they will be amongst us and they seek only to destroy.

before you panic. know that our God is Great and our Good Shepherd is protecting his flock. and, he has made pastors (word means shepherd) who are purposed to protect the flock from wolves. and, he has given us his Spirit by which to see and call out sin and even together as the body call out and run off wolves. God has not left us uncared for, alone, or unprotected.

i believe one of the ways we fight against wolves, those who “have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power,” is to live in HIS power. today, that means we bend our knee to the Spirit’s work in us. it means we bend our knee to his desire to cut, hewn, shape, and mold us into Jesus image. it means we realize that even in our weakest points, he can be strong in us and through us if we will bend our knee to his work. today, bend your knee. where will you let the weakness of God become a strength by his power? read this passage. sit in his presence. bend your knee. together – through the power of the Holy Spirit – may we make this a place wolves cannot abide for long!

three times i pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. but he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” therefore i will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [2 corinthians 12:8-9]