I happen to live in Africa, the home of most of the world’s lions, but this is not a safari story. It is an important spiritual lesson that comes from the king of the beasts.
The Nature of the Beast
The lion has long been used as a symbol of courage, leadership and royalty. Over the years, different peoples have observed them and admired their boldness. These animals are so brave they will attack virtually any creature regardless of its size or threat. Lions will go after buffaloes, elephants and even crocodiles. For those who have been up close with a lion in the wild, you will attest that there is no animal as confident looking, as fearless and as regal. If you happened to meet its gaze, you would feel vulnerable. There are no traces of fear in the eyes of a lion.
So why is this animal so fearless? Does it come from its great strength and ability to tear most animals to pieces? That surely is important but I believe there’s more to it. I would suggest that the lion’s bravery is not so much in its ability as in the DNA. From birth the lion cub instinctively knows to be fearless: it just knows it is a lion.
If it was up to us, we all would have wanted to be born fearless, to have a certain assuredness about all the problems we encounter in life. To face them head on and not be overwhelmed by anything: to ‘attack’ our challenges and not run from them. I have news for you: if you are Christian, then you are born of a lion—the lion of Judah. That is not some theological statement with little place in the real world; it is a great truth that can set you free.
When you know your true identity, you begin to reflect it. The lion cub does not have to pretend to be brave; it just has to be itself. If it was unsure of its identity, we would see a different animal altogether. The cub’s identity is further developed by the other lions that nurture it. Now let me tell you a true story of a certain “lion” and a not-so-brave little boy.
Why We Fear
I was about four years old and my parents had guests at home. Once night had fallen, they got ready to leave and as we escorted them out of the house, I could see the dark night sky and mysterious shadows lurking in nearby trees. We bade farewell to the guests and they drove off. Before we could go back inside, something interesting happened. Turning and looking at us (myself and some siblings), my dad thought he could have a little laugh. He spread out his fingers like claws and opening his eyes wide, he said, “Can I turn into a lion?” Maybe it was the darkness outside or perhaps the fact that his hair and beard looked much like a mane, but all I can say is I was convinced he was on the verge of transforming into a real lion; I was terrified! I begged him not to and it only made him laugh—and ask the question again. He eventually relented and we went into the house. I was still not too sure about him though!
Well, now that you know how brave I can be, let’s move on to more important things.
That experience as a child was a long time ago. I am grown up now and I know it was silly to think a human being could become a lion. However after so many years, God reminded me of that day and gave me a revelation. He let me know that I was afraid at the time because I didn’t know any better, and that growing up gave me knowledge that showed me the truth. My wrong belief instilled fear in me. My dad was never going to become a lion but I was afraid anyway. So what was the solution? I just needed to grow up and learn the truth.
The truth indeed sets us free.
God’s Remedy for Fear
In life everything that makes us fearful points at our limited knowledge. I am not saying there are no real dangers; do not get me wrong. Nor am I saying we should never feel fear. What I am saying is that our deeper knowledge of God makes us realize we really have nothing to fear.
The righteous are as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1). Righteous here simply refers to those who have a meaningful relationship with God. And why should they be brave or confident?
The simple answer is that they know the truth.
When you know the truth, it sets you free from fear. How would I describe that truth? Let me keep it simple: God is able to deal with whatever you may face and overcome it for you. That is the truth.
The big question then, is why do Christians struggle with all sorts of fears even though they already know the truth?
I will ask another question: do we really know and believe this truth? Do we act like we should when we have a problem? Are we calm, confident and assured—yes, bold as a lion?
I don’t think so. More often than not we are afraid and pray in desperation and doubt. “I can’t help it,” you say; “I don’t have that faith.” Do not worry; you just need to grow some more. Do you see why God is so interested in our spiritual growth? We want him to keep problems away but he prefers that we stop letting them scare us.
There are over a hundred verses in the Bible that communicate the message “Do not be afraid” and there is a reason for this. God is saying, “I can handle your challenges but you have to believe because what you accept becomes your reality.” This is not something we can learn overnight; we have to grow.
We grow just like a child does; by expanding our knowledge. Our source of truth is the Word of God. If we do not take it in regularly, we can never grow spiritually. Once we’ve learned something new, we do not stop there; we apply that knowledge. We believe what the Word says and stop being afraid of everything. We trust in God and in who we are because of him. God’s Word is meant to remind us of who we are. He has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). That spirit has come because we do not have a revelation of the truth.
Let us strive to learn more of the truth every day. So that it can be said of us, “He lies down like a lion and who will dare to rouse him?” or, “She lies down like a lioness and who will dare to rouse her.”
By studying the Bible for several years, Martin K.M. has gradually attained a deep understanding of the Word of God and its enduring truths. He delights in sharing the Gospel with as many as he can and views writing as a great channel to do so. He has authored a number of books on spiritual growth and devotions. His works are characterized by a strong fidelity to the Scriptures along with the themes of hope and love.
He writes regularly at someinspiredthoughts.com.