Here are just a few thoughts about stuff God has been showing me lately. I’m not sure how it all fits together, but I’m gonna try to explain it here as best I can.
The story that sparked my thoughts was from Efrem Smith at Ichthus during the communion service. He talked about a tribe (I think in Africa) where they practice a coming of age ritual for boys. When they are about twelve they are expected to kill a lion in order to become a man! Since I teach a guys small group I wondered what I could do to help my guys “become men.” Anyway, here’s how the boys do it: (According to Efrem this practice is still in existence)
The bravest boy sneaks up on the lion while he sleeps and then runs to a certain place where 4 other boys are ready to attack the lion with spears and knives. When the lion is killed, the bravest boy (the one who woke the lion) cuts off the mane and wears it as a symbol of his bravery.
Efrem used this story to go on and talk about the “lion” (Satan) who prowls about seeking to steal, kill, and destroy us. He also spoke of the “lions” in our lives which attack us like addictions, bad habits, unhealthy relationships, etc.
My mind went somewhere else though – I was thinking that Efrem was talking about Satan attacking us, but his story was about these boys attacking him. Maybe that’s the difference in a boy and a man. Boys live life trying to prepare for when Satan attacks them, and men live planning their attack on the lion. It’s the difference in living life defensively or offensively. Another BIG difference is that boys get attacked by a lion they never see, but men (with this definition) CHOOSE THEIR LION. When they attack their lion they know where the resistance will come from.
As I look at different youth who I have watched grow up, I can see pretty clearly how this difference plays out in their lives. Here’s an example I heard this weekend: One of the speakers talked about a 20 year old girl who had gone on mission trip one summer when she was in High School. Now, at the age of 20 (no college) she is running an orphanage for over 50 children. She is living her life offensively. She knows that the lions (Satans) attacks will be on this ministry that she is putting her heart into, but she has also chosen that lion. She has “taken ground” for the kingdom of God. Now, take another girl who went on the same mission trip, who decides to go off to college. She too will fight a lion, but it will be on his ground. She too might very well “take ground” for the kingdom, but her attack will probably come in a way that she would never have expected – Satan will use a relationship to attack her, or maybe her professors will challenge her faith, who knows? – the point is – she doesn’t know where her attack will come or even what her “lion” looks like.
For men – God calls us to be warriors – to be “wild at heart” as one author puts it. I certainly have something in me that wants a “battle to fight” and an “adventure to live.” I wonder how I can live this way? How can I be offensive for God? Which “lion” will I choose? And who are the other 4 guys I should ask to help me in this fight? God show me. I need You.