He Can Roar But He Can’t Hurt You!

Guest Post by: Nathaniel Austin, one of our Blog Post contest winners.

A few days ago I saw a video that at first made me jump, and then made me smile. A little girl was at a zoo and a lion was roaring, pawing at the window, ready to attack her, and the little girl stood there.

At this particular zoo there was glass between the animals and people instead of the usual bars I am used to and so it was all the more heart jumping action as I wondered just how strong that glass was. I remarked to someone after watching the video how that little girl was amazing, and seemed to have no fear.

An angry, hungry lion in full-on attack mode and three-year old Sofia stood her ground. You can see the video clip here.

Fear Not!

How many times as Christians have we heard those words. Fear Not! Seems like over the years maybe thousands of times? Yet, a storm will break out, a trial will come upon us, and our faith is shaken, our fears rise to the surface, and we wonder how we are going to make it.

It has been said that the phrase ‘fear not’ appears in the Bible 365 times. I am not sure of the accuracy of that, but between other similar references it is very clear that we are told to not be afraid of what may come along.

As Christians our banner is Faith, and so it would be logical that we cannot have faith and still be fearful, but we too are human and fall into the grasp of the faint of heart when trials and tests come our way. I too fall prey to my fears at many times. It is easy to do.

However, one would think that over time, and many trials we would begin to realize that no matter what happens we are going to be okay.

Oh Ye Of Little Faith

Those were the words that came out of Jesus’ mouth when He was awakened by His disciples to calm the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Now, if anyone should have faith, you would think the very ones who walked and talked with Jesus, even ate dinner with Him should have faith. They should know everything was going to be okay. But falling into their own doubts, after a great miracle I might add, they woke Him to ‘Master, careth not that we perish?’

How many times have we done the same thing?

We love the worship, the singing, the dancing, the shouting, but let a little storm come into our life and we wonder where is God?

Right There With Us

Matthew 28:20 states, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ He is right there in every situation with his protecting hand to shield us from harm.

Little Sofia knew that glass was between her and the lion. Sure, at first she reacted to the roar, but she stood her ground. She knew she was going to be okay.

Many times in life, the enemy comes roaring and pawing at us, ready to destroy us. His roars get louder and his attacks seem more fierce as we face him, to the point it looks like he will devour us.

1 Peter 5:8 says the ‘devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.’ He would like to destroy us. He wants to wreck our life, but more importantly, destroy our soul. He doesn’t like the freedom we can have in Jesus.

We can sugar coat it if we like, but there is a devil and he doesn’t want us having what he cannot. So he might come into our lives, roar and paw at us to try and get us to break. If he can get us to stop believing in the power of the cross, the blood of Jesus and His love, then perhaps he can win.

Standing Firm

Galatians 5:1 says, ‘stand therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.’ We have freedom and liberty because Jesus Christ took our sins and hung on Calvary that we might be free from the bondage of sin and death. We can take hope that His grace truly is sufficient for us.

If we have taken on Christ, and are covered by His blood, nothing can shake us. Isaiah wrote, ‘I have engraved you in the palms of my hands.’ We are protected by our Creator against any attack of the enemy.

Just Keep Standing

That lion kept roaring and pawing at little Sofia in the video. It wanted to attack her or at the very least scare her. A lot of us would have run crying, maybe even screaming from that lion. But she seemed fearless. Why?

She knew that between her and the lion, there was a protective barrier. That lion could not touch her. No matter how much the lion roared, it was not going to get through that barrier.

Our enemy is the same way. He can roar, he can paw, he can do all sorts of things to make us afraid but he cannot do anything to us when we are protected and bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. The enemy is powerless against the blood.

The End Of The Story

I am not sure how it all played out after, but at the end of the video clip, the lion is standing there watching that little three-year old girl.

I wonder what was going through its mind?

This tiny creature who he could probably eat with one bite, stood there against the roar, against the pawing. There was nothing the lion could do.

It is the same with our lives. The enemy can roar at us, but cannot do anything when we are protected by God. Just a bunch of noise, and in the end, we will still be okay.

Sofia wants to go to the zoo, again, for her 4th birthday.

Religion…So What’s The Problem?

Re·li·gion: Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

Religion, while having many problems, has a lot of great things to offer, the greatest of which is family; however, is it just me or does it seem like many people are becoming disgruntled with all sorts of things concerning religion?  People are ultimately, walking away and claiming no real allegiance to any religion at all.  In all honesty, I’ve noticed myself growing a bit jaded with religion and what it has come to; but unless I can be honest with myself and see my own faults, how can I contribute to the mending of what is becoming broken?

The Real Problem

You see, the real problem isn’t religion; it’s us, the people! We’re the ones with selfishness, pride, and greed. We quickly point fingers of contempt and disapproval at the ministers who ask us to do things we feel aren’t entirely biblical or reasonable. We gather our friends together and share our complaints and disapproval in hopes of saving them from a ministry of wrong teachings. We complain when the church asks us for money because we feel like we’ve worked hard for that money and we’re barely making it the way it is! Then we go and trade our 22-inch televisions for a 44-inch flat screen. We complain of the teachings of modesty because we want to go on vacation, or let our kids go to school and “fit in” by wearing what all the other girls are wearing at school or on the beach. Then unscrupulous men, who have a problem with pornography,  look at our daughters with sick and twisted sexual desires. We complain about the pastor not being in touch with reality, while we make ridiculous statements like, “If my boss would just give me a raise, I would work harder.” We have the audacity to complain about our pastors “not preaching it hard enough” on subjects we think he should. And then we sit at a restaurant, stuffing our faces, and conveniently push away the Scriptures that clearly tell us gluttony is a sin.

I too, as a minister of the gospel, have sat with fellow ministers and felt justified to speak against other ministers and the way they go about ministering. I’ve spoken against, preached against, and even made fun of other religions that don’t believe like I do. I’ve gone as far as claiming that, “If you don’t like what you are hearing here, you can go down the street to one of the other churches where they will let you do whatever you want.” Why would I say such things? How could I feel so justified to speak against a fellow minister, or another religion? Can I honestly say that they don’t love God with the same level of passion, simply because they don’t serve God the same way I do?

Yes, I am guilty! I too, as a minister of the gospel, have made statements like “Well, the one thing we can do is eat!” I too, as a minister of the gospel, have not given to causes when God specifically told me to because I was thinking only of myself and what I wanted, or of my own bills that needed the money, only to get up and “preach it hard” about giving. I too, as a minister of the gospel, have been a guilty party, causing religion to be riddled with problems and too few solutions.

Look at this warning the Lord gives to Ezekiel,  “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, Sodom and her daughters were never as wicked as you and your daughters. Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.” (Ezekiel 16:48-50 NLT)

The Answer

The truth is, any of us can sit around and talk about what we disapprove of.  Any of us can pick up rocks and throw them at those we don’t like or don’t understand. And any one of us can continue to live in denial about the fact that there is a real problem with religion as we know it today. But the sad fact will still remain. Who will be a part of the solution rather than compounding the problem? When will those who are not being loved start to feel cared about? When will the child who cries himself to sleep at night be loved and embraced by the very hands that now are filled with rocks of ungratefulness and contempt? How long will we ignore the fact that the new babes who come into our churches are seen as little more than “one more that we can get on our side” or “another to add to our clique”? How long will we ignore the fact that our churches, US, WE THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH, AND US PASTORS AND EVANGELISTS, have left our passionate love for others behind only to grab hold of our own selfish causes, and conveniently hide it under the banner of “truth?”

Is it enough to keep “fighting for the truth” and say such things as “Well, at least we still hold to the truth,” even though we’ve lost our deep, intimate, passionate connection and love for both God and others? We ignore the problems in society that rage all around us because we’re too caught up in fighting for our causes. Does it really fix the problem to walk away from a church or religion and say, “They just don’t understand how things are! They don’t care about me, or even love me, because if they did they wouldn’t ask such things of me!”

Is there a real problem? Yes! But saints of God, the real problem isn’t religion or every pastor, it’s you! Pastor and Evangelist, the real problem isn’t the people you pastor or preach to, it’s you! It’s me! It’s our selfish pride and ambition! We don’t want to say the words, “I’m sorry.”  We tell ourselves, “He’s the pastor, he should know better! Let him come to me first,” Or “I’m the pastor! They’re the rebellious sheep! Let them come to me first!”  WHEN DO THE SHEEP GET LOVED IN EITHER OF THESE TWO SCENARIOS?

We can live with denial all we like, but one day, selfish saint, selfish pastor, and evangelist, we will give an answer to God as to why we let religion become this way! Anyone can point out a problem, but few are willing, or even care to know how to fix it. Some who read this will focus on one or two lines and will twist the words and meanings so that they will be justified in being angry, and not have to fix what is broken in their own heart.

Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:1-7 NLT)

You have heard that our ancestors were told, `You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’  But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” (Matthew 5:21-24 NLT)