Chase the Lion (part one)


Chasing Lions (part one)

· Let me make a prediction: your biggest regret at the end of your life won’t be the things you did that you wish you hadn’t.  Your biggest regret will be the things you didn’t do but wish you had.
· Prediction based on a study that showed that time is a key factor in what we regret.
· Over the short-term, we tend to regret actions—things we did that we wish we hadn’t. 53%-47% But over the long-haul, we tend to regret inactions—things we didn’t do but wish we had. 84%-16%
· Fair share of regrets, things we wish we could take back (superman)
· 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.
· Church has become fixated on sins of commission.  Don’t do this.  Don’t do that.  And you’re alright.
· You can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right.
· We operate by a holiness by subtraction principle. If we just subtract that which is wrong in our lives we’re ok.
· I think God is just as 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 only half-Christians.  Our calling is much higher than simply running away from what’s wrong. 
· Maybe we’ve measured spiritual maturity the wrong way?  Maybe following Christ isn’t supposed to be as safe or as civilized as we’ve been led to believe?
· Maybe Christ was more dangerous and uncivilized than our Sunday school flannel graphs portrayed?  And maybe God wants to raise up a generation of lion chasers? 

· II Samuel 23:20-21 highlights one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture, but it’s more than that. It’s a microcosm on how God calls us to approach life.

Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day. And he killed an Egyptian, a spectacular man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; so he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear.

· 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.  We don’t know Benaiah’s frame of mind, but Scripture does reveal his gut reaction.  And it was gutsy. 

· It ranks as one of the most improbable reactions recorded in Scripture.  When the image of a man-eating beast travels through the optical nerve and registers in the visual cortex, 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 résumé 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 path 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.
· So what kept Benaiah from running?
· He knew God was bigger.
· Most of us do not have God-sized problems, we have a God size problem.
· At the end of Prince Caspian, one of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia series, there is a great dialogue between Lucy and Aslan—the lion who is the Christ-figure in the book. They haven’t seen each other in over a year and Lucy says:
“Aslan, you’re bigger.” Aslan says, “That is because you are older, little one.” She says, “Not because you are?” And Aslan says, “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
· So it is with our relationship with God: the more we grow the bigger God gets.

· Maybe it’s time to apply for your dream job; admit your addiction; reconcile a relationship; ask her out; take the test; go on a mission trip; mentor someone; stop attending church and start serving; add a stamp to your passport; take a night class; start a business; or write the manuscript.  
· There is an old saying: no guts no glory. 
· When we don’t have the guts to step out in faith and chase lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to him! 
· Chase the lion! 

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