"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
In early October of 2011 my dad brought over ten cute little, fluffy red-brown chicks that peeped and scratched at their cardboard box. Ten Rhode Island Reds, guaranteed-to-be-hens chicks. But by the first of February, as the time neared to move the young chickens from their small coop to join the mature chickens in the run, we were pretty certain that one of those now teen-aged birds was not a hen.
Chanticleer, as we called him, had a bigger comb, bigger body, and a fluffier, more colorful greenish tail than his sisters. The feathers around his neck were shiny and smooth. And he made a strange croaking sound like a toddler trying to imitate a rooster.
To be sure, I read up on Rhode Island Red roosters. Chanticleer matched every description I found. I also discovered that these roosters were very protective of their flock and had been known to kill a fox if it threatened their hens.
Good. Hopefully we wouldn't lose anymore of our birds to the wandering neighborhood dogs that had taken at least five of our original flock.
But we wanted chickens for the eggs, not to raise more chickens, so, with the help of my two teenagers, I clipped Chanti's wings and tossed him on the other side of the fence, into the backyard.
At first he stayed close to the hens. Whenever I went into the run to feed, water and collect eggs, Chanti would shadow my movements on the other side of the fence. And his feeble attempts at crowing weren't enough to wake me in the early morning hours. I felt kind of attached to him.
Attached enough to put off my husband's suggestion that we make a meal out of Chanti. Instead, I pointed out that we hadn't seen any cats roaming around the yard in the weeks since we'd separated Chanticleer from the rest of the flock.
But the first time the rooster attacked me, I changed my mind. I had just finished feeding and water the hens and was headed over to give Chanti his share of the feed and refill his water dish. Walking past him as always, I started to dump the pitcher of water when Chanti jumped at me, his red-brown feathers puffed up like he'd been dried without a dryer sheet. In response, I threw the rest of the water at him. With a squawk, he sulked away while I tossed his feed down and hurried back into the house.
Over the next few weeks his attacks became more aggressive. In the beginning, I could easily fend Chanti off with a quick kick in his direction, but as his crow matured, so did his boldness. Soon enough I started carrying a short stick anytime I went in to see the hens. We began dumping Chanti's food over the fence to keep him distracted while we escaped the run and went back to the house.
I didn't start using the broom until Chanti's attack on my husband. One afternoon, he was checking on the garden, on the opposite side of our large yard than the coop, when Chanticleer came bounding across the lawn and jumped at him. Twice. Despite the hard kicks my husband landed in defending himself.
Needless to say, Chanti's days are now numbered.
But, like the wickedness and evil that we know exists in the world, I knew that Chanti had an aggressive streak. It was part of his nature. Yet, I didn't prepare myself to face that meanness, until after it almost had painful consequences. And even after his attacks caused my daughter to spill feed and my son to drop some eggs, we still relied on our own strength to protect us.
Sometimes we face Satan and his temptations the same way, boldly trusting in our own strength and cunning to keep us from his grasp, when we would have been better off girding ourselves with the Lord's armor.
We know the devil's character. We know he is cunning and tricky and determined to get us. Knowing this, we should never face him unarmed, but we should beat him off, standing strong in the armor the Lord has given us, even if our only weapon is a broken push broom!