Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Chasing the Lion

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

Often the biggest regret at the end of a person’s life won’t be the things they did that they wish they hadn’t, but rather the things they didn’t do but wish they had. Over the short-term, we tend to regret actions - things we did that we wish we hadn’t. But over the long-haul, we tend to regret inactions - things we didn’t do but wish we had.

No doubt we have all had our fair share of action regrets. I’ve certainly said and done some things that I wish I could unsay and undo. But I’m convinced that our deepest regrets at the end of our lives will be the risks not taken, the opportunities not seized, and the dreams not pursued.

It seems to me that the modern church has become fixated on sins of commission. Don’t do this, don’t do that, and you’re alright. But the problem with that is you can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right!

It becomes holiness by subtraction. Holiness becomes the by product of subtracting something from our lives that shouldn’t be there instead of maximizing our God-given potential.

Now holiness certainly involves subtraction, but God is also concerned about sins of omission - those things we could have and should have done. Maybe holiness has as much or more to do with seizing opportunities as it does resisting temptation? Those who simply run away from sin are half-Christians. Our calling is much higher than simply running away from what’s wrong. Maybe God wants to raise up a generation of lion chasers. Look at 2 Samuel 23:20,

‘Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion’. (2 Samuel 23:20)

Here is one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture, and it’s a microcosm on how God calls us to approach life. Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it.

Scripture doesn’t tell us what Benaiah was doing or where he was going when he encountered this lion, but it ranks as one of the most improbable reactions recorded in Scripture. When the image of a man-eating beast confronts us the brain has one over-arching message: run away. That is what normal people do, but lion chasers are wired differently. They don’t see five-hundred pound problems. They see God-ordained opportunities.

For most of us, finding ourselves in a pit with a lion on a snowy day would pose a substantial problem, but you’ve got to admit something: I killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day looks pretty impressive on your CV if you’re applying for a bodyguard position with the King of Israel! Not only does Benaiah land a job as David’s chief bodyguard, he climbs all the way up the military chain-of-command to become Commander-in-Chief of Israel’s army. Benaiah was the second most powerful person in the kingdom of Israel, but his genealogy of success can be traced all the way back to a life-and-death encounter with a man-eating lion. It was fight or flight. Benaiah was faced with a choice that would determine his destiny: run away or give chase. If you run away, you’ll always wonder what if.

Satan wants to scare wants to scare us into inactivity. But in the words of 1 John 4:18: “Perfect love casts out all fear.” As we grow in a love relationship with God, we unlearn the fears that keep us from living by faith. And the end result is fearlessness!

So don’t let mental lions keep you from experiencing everything God has to offer.

The greatest experiences will often double as the scariest experiences. The defining moments will often double as the scariest decisions.

Benaiah must have been scared stiff when he encountered that lion. But he didn’t run away. In fact, it was the fear he felt that made his “in a pit with a lion on a snowy day” story all the more interesting to tell. Can you imagine the bedtime stories Benaiah must have told his children! I can hear his kids saying, ‘tell us the lion story one more time’. Well we owe it not just to our kids and grandkids to live our lives in a way that is worth telling stories about, but more importantly, we owe it to God.

So here is my question, ‘are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about’?

Maybe it is time to quit running and start chasing. When opportunity roars you have a choice to make: run away or grab life by the mane.

We all need to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death, so:

  • Set God-sized goals;
  • Pursue God-ordained passions;
  • Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention;
  • Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution
  • Stop criticizing and start creating;
  • Expand your horizons;
  • Accumulate experiences;
  • Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks;
  • Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away;
  • And remember: if God is for us who can be against us?

When we don’t step out in faith and chase lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to him!

So unleash the lion chaser within!

Have a good week chasing lions.

Pastor Barry

26th July 2009

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