“The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!’” Proverbs 22:13 (NLT)

I’ve always been amused by this Proverb. Who has ever seen a lion on the street! Perhaps when this was written it may have been more common, but I suspect the writer conjured up a farfetched scenario to emphasize that a lazy person will use any excuse to get out of work. Not being a lazy person, I pretty much have let this proverb slide past – until now.

They say that COVID-19 social distancing can lead to vivid dreams. I attest! I had a super weird one the other night… here’s the gist (a little heavy but hang in there!)

My Dream of Two Lions

I saw a lion walking through the streets. He was huge, perhaps 10 feet tall, confident with each step. His powerful shoulders made a lasting impression on me. He was like an African lion, without a splotch or blemish. Though calm, his size and strength made me tremble. I quickly sought cover inside a building.

No sooner had I begun to relax when another lion came on the scene, creeping through the door of the building where I hid. He was big as well, but lacked the same stature. His coloring was much different; large white patches cut by black tiger like stripes covered his shoulders and neck. As I studied him, a sense of distrust came over me. I stayed motionless. Suddenly I saw a group of smaller lions, cubs, running around. In an instant, the multi-colored lion snatched one in its jaws. Kicking and screaming the little cub tried to escape but the lion’s grip was too great. Turning its head to face a large disposal chute, to my horror, the ugly lion dropped the cub in, never to be seen again! The other cubs scrambled to hide, fearing for their lives… I was terrified.

Of course, that’s when I woke. (Doesn’t it always happen that way?) As I laid in bed I wondered, “What was that all about?” Wow… I took a deep breath and released it slowly, trusting this nightmare would leave me quickly like most do. Yet, it lingered. A few days later, during my devotional time, I asked God if there was anything to it (you never know, right?) He prompted me to recall Proverbs 22:13. My vivid dream gave me new appreciation for the terror of a lion on the loose. I agreed… who’d want to venture out if there was a lion in the neighborhood? The fear described in the proverb became real to me. Then I realized…

I realized that there actually is a lion out there, maybe two!

My Mission is “Unlocking Lives-Guiding Futures.” Pursuing this as an advisor and coach, I’ve come to realize that all of us have recurrent questions like: “Isn’t there more to life than this?” and, “I’m here for a reason – what is it?” I tell you this – these questions will not go away! I believe God has planted deep seated desires within us so that we seek him. My struggle has been, “Why don’t more people do something in response to these desires?”

Sure, plenty talk about wanting to find purpose but it seems to stop there for most. The proverb calls out the lazy. I wondered, “Are people lazy?” Some for sure, but I’ve seen plenty of ambitious people stumble to get going in spite of wanting to make a difference. “There must be something else…” I thought. That’s when my dream began to make more sense.

I realized…

There is a lion outside….and something that appears to be a lion inside.

The Bible speaks a lot about lions. In fact, Jesus himself is referred to as the Lion of Judah.

“But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”’
The Apostle John (Revelation 5:5)

As I thought about that first lion, Jesus came to mind. Confident walk, powerful shoulders, the stature of a king. So powerful, my fear of him was understandable. Yet, his calm strength heightened a desire in me for him. Dangerous, but strangely attractive, this lion was truly a real lion; an unblemished king. After witnessing the wickedness of the second lion, I wanted to be on the side of this powerful noble. The lion of Judah was calling me to join him outside where I would come under his protection. This “outside” lion wasn’t the one to fear, he wanted me to stand with him.

I thought more about the second (“inside”) lion. Interestingly, I saw him come in from the outside; he came to where I was hiding… looking for vulnerable cubs like me. I was puzzled by his blemished coat; made me think of him as impure, tainted. Watching him terrorize and discard that little cub was beyond disturbing. It could have been me! Another scripture came to mind:

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
The Apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:8)

Our enemy, tainted and impure, was thrown from God’s presence. Now on earth, he prowls, looking for someone to devour. A true lion? No! Peter describes him as “like a roaring lion…” Pretending, our enemy is set on keeping us little cubs inside. This poser knows that he must imprison us before we venture outside and come under protection of the King, the lion of Judah.

I can still feel the terror that made me squirm and hide as I watched the evil lion snatch that cub. Cowering, it made me forget about the lion outside. Isn’t this the way fear works? The writer of the proverb knew there wasn’t really a lion outside to be feared. The “lazy” man’s fear centered on the idea that there could be a lion outside that would devour… a lie! He’d been deceived. The lion to fear is inside!

I realized…

A lie…. The twisted truth. The tried and true method of your enemy.

Back to those who fail to seek answers for the desires God has planted within them… lazy? Or victims of the false lion’s spin? Duped into fearing the lion outside…

  • Fear paralyzes… they make excuses like “I have financial issues. I can’t do anything until I’m in better shape.”
  • Doubts undermine… they belittle their God given abilities.
  • Busyness clouds… they favor low impact worldly activity over Kingdom priorities.
  • Intimidation grows… they project their future without God in it.
  • Comfort traps… they seek fulfillment from things that could never satisfy.

I realized…

The false lion’s spin of the truth emasculates boldness.

We are warned to stay alert. Could the false lion have deceived you already? He craftily works to convince you to believe his twisted truth and run from God, distrusting…

“The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.”
Proverbs 28:1 (NLT)

Stop running and embrace the truth… there is no lion outside to fear! You’re called to be bold, to make the break, venture outside and engage life under the leadership and protection of the great lion, the lion of Judah. This is where you truly experience God… it’s the Adventure of Your Life!

Act now! Move deliberately, swiftly, with laser focus on the true lion lest you find yourself trapped inside, a captive of the false lion’s lies. Boldly enter the Adventure of Your Life. Let’s talk.

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