LIONS,TIGERS, AND BEARS--OH NO!
In my dream last night I was on a flatbed car of a train. A huge cage was in front of me. It took up most of the space. There I stood in front of the cage trying to tie a thick rope around a canvas sheet that surrounded the cage.
As I worked the huge lion inside lunged toward me. His roar was ear-splitting, and I could feel his hot breath on my face.
Thinking the rope was securely tied, I let go and stepped back. But I’ve never been that good at tying knots except for those knots I tie accidently in my shoe strings or in necklaces with fine chains.
As soon as I took that step backward, the rope went slack and the canvas sheet fell away and began flapping in the wind.
Well, if you’re ever on a boxcar and a lion is your companion, two becomes a crowd. So I decided to take the leap. I jumped off that train. But no jump and roll for me. No Siree. I jumped upright and landed flat on my feet.
As soon as my feet hit the ground I said, “Oop!” which is what I often say when I’ve forgotten something or make a mistake. I saw a K-mart just over the hill, but it seemed I had forgotten my shoes. There I was in my sock feet. And what’s worse, I was oddly dressed. Besides the lavender socks, I was in pajama pants and an old sweatshirt that most people would not be caught dead in. Yet, if they’re heading to Hell, they’ll find they’ll be wearing much worse, no matter how richly dressed they are in this world.
The Lord Jesus had just reminded me in my earlier prayer time to continue to stand. For it is written,
“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the full armour of God,
so that you will be able to stand against the crafty (clever, very clever and sneaky) schemes of the devil...and having done all, to stand.”
During prayer time my body had felt so exhausted that the temptation to give up and just quit hit me several times.
This suggestion was so strong, it was almost overpowering.
Notice I said almost. Almost, but not quite. I kept casting it down the moment it came. I resisted, but not by my own power. The thing that sets temptation apart is that it’s hard to resist. If it wasn’t then it wouldn’t be a temptation, would it?
Each time I resisted, the Lord encouraged, “Stand. Continue to stand.”
Looking to Him, the author and finisher of our faith, I’d answer, “Okay.” And I’d continue, just like He said.
I have His promise, and it’s sealed with His own blood. His words shout to me more loudly than the roaring of a lion, no matter how softly the Lord speaks.
”For though we walk in the flesh (a flesh and bone natural body),
we don‘t war after the flesh...”
My weapons are not natural. They are supernatural. And so are yours. Even if I tried to outmanouver the devil, our adversary, or to outthink him myself, I‘d never succeed. I’m no match for his power. He‘d run circles around me, and pretty soon I‘d be the one in the cage with the canvas sheet pulled tightly around it. I imagine he‘s very good at tying knots.
But God who is inside me, and inside you is bigger and stronger, and satan’s no match for Him.
This is why God instructs,
“...therefore we do not war after the flesh,
but our weapons are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds,
casting down imaginations,
and every high thing that exalts itself in (before) the knowledge of God...”
Here’s the rule of thumb whenever we’re faced with lions, tigers and bears. Don’t run. Never run. Reject, shut out, anything and everything that contradicts the Word of God. It’s those things that defile us, and it’s those things that tempt us.
Temptation is not sin. Being tempted is a part of being in the devil’s world. Expect it because this is how satan tries to get the freedom that’s ours in Christ Jesus away. Once we are freed, satan works to place us back in slavery.
We could not get free from the dominion of the devil the first time. Jesus made us free. And we cannot stay free. Only in Jesus and in His power do we remain free by following
Jesus and doing what He commands. So we take that tempting thought with it’s corresponding feeling, and we continue to do what Jesus says,
“...bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
If you dwell on
the imagining or thought that contradicts what God says about Himself or you, you will fall flat on your face. So God is telling you,
“Don’t even try to fight a spiritual enemy yourself. Here. Take my power and win every time. Make the game a shut out. Don’t even let the enemy score.”
Don’t fear the lions or tigers or bears. Don’t fear the thoughts or imaginings. Just block them wearing God’s own armour and clothed in His strength. Just let ‘em roar while you take them captive and cast them out. Throw them out as easily as you’d toss stuffed animals off your bed.
The Bible has warned us that the adversary is always about,
“The devil, your adversary, walks to and fro about the earth, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Take him captive, by taking each of his thoughts captive, and the feelings he places upon you too. Do so in God’s power and and you won’t be devoured.
In my dream, you’ll notice that satan, the lion, was the caged one, not me. I had taken him captive so he was powerless to harm me because I was doing what God said to do.
Near the end of my prayer time before this dream, God strengthened me. I heard Him say,
“I’ve strengthened you.”
Matter-of-factly, I answered, “I know. I can sense it in my spirit.”
In the dream, when I took that leap of faith off the train, and made the discovery that I was there in my sockfeet, and odd-looking pajamas, I felt no fear or shame, as I headed straight for that K-mart store.
As a Christian in a devil’s world, this is how I look all the time.
World-dwellers take one look at me, and at you, the followers of Christ Jesus, and shake their head, “Get a load of those weirdos, the ones in pajamas and no shoes. What’s that all about? And look at the one in front. Her pajama pants are polka dot! What a band of misfits!”
To which I answer,
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of Salvation unto those who believe.”
I might be wearing polka dots and wandering about as a stranger and sojourner in this world, but I am not alone. You are with me. And so is God. **
And God’s wisdom which I speak is gibberish to the ones who perish. Still, the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of man, so I am proud to be in polka dots for I’m not ashamed of being regarded as the rubbish of the world and seen as a spectacle.
We might be a sight for sore eyes. We might be the world’s misfits, but we are God’s perfect fit in Christ Jesus. For we look to that Holy One who goes before us, that original One in pajamas and sock feet. That Holy One of Israel, who is now wearing splendid robes and seated on the right hand of God the Father.
We look to the One who walks ahead of His rag tag little band, rag tag in appearance but mighty in spirit, confident in one thing,
“...He is able to keep us from falling,
and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy...”
No lions, tigers or bears are going to stand in our way, not with God around. We may be the world’s misfits, but we are God’s perfect fit.
“Now unto Him be the glory, majesty, dominion and power through Christ Jesus our Lord both now and ever. AMEN.”