Something very wonderful has happened to me; and in the telling, it is becoming more and more established in my own heart and also in the hearts of others.
Some months ago, I was penning a letter to a friend when my thoughts were suddenly interrupted. I was given a nugget to contemplate that is so profound, I wondered why I had overlooked it thus far.
“Peter, in order for you to become a whole person, in order for you to know the fullness of Christ and express Him to others, both the Lamb of God and the Lion of the tribe of Judah have to reside side by side in your heart.”
I have contemplated this nugget, this pearl of great price, and will probably try to plumb its meaning for all eternity. When the thought was first presented to me, it made so much sense that I could immediately accept it with all my heart. In fact, it is such a profound truth that I pondered why it had not been revealed to me earlier.
I look back upon my pilgrimage, my walk with Jesus, and can easily see that I have been limping along with only the Lamb of God in my heart. I was restrained from expressing righteous anger. I lacked boldness, courage, and confidence. I had endurance but little strength, and no power or authority. I made many detours and experienced many delays. Fear and confusion often barred my way.
I knew I was spiritually and emotionally crippled, immature, and impotent. I knew in my heart I was not whole, but I did not know why. The challenge to be conformed to the image of Christ kept beckoning me. I kept pondering the words of the apostle Paul, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”(Ephesians 4:13). That challenge, that promise, prodded me to keep on going, to keep on looking, to keep asking, to keep praying, to keep on searching the Scriptures for clues. What do the words, “fullness of Christ” really mean, and is it attainable and intended for all of us? A divine dissatisfaction kept me spiritually restless and hungry.
It is no longer a mystery why my first encounter with Jesus was and had to be with the Lamb of God that takes away my sins and the sins of all who are willing to confess them. It is no longer a mystery why the Word of God first revealed Jesus in the nature of a lamb and blinded me to the Lion of Judah who is also Jesus. A lamb is gentle, willing to follow, willing to obey, willing to be a part of a flock of sheep - at least most of the time. It is no longer a mystery why at first God had to plant the desire into my heart to adopt all the qualities of a lamb, a lamb that does not seek revenge when attacked or is mistreated, but that only seeks
the protection of the fold and its shepherd.
How else could the angry man, the selfish man, the self-sufficient man, the self-reliant, the self-satisfied man, the rebel, the independent and proud spirit within me be broken? It is the love and gentleness of God, His mercy that constrained me to obey Him, to become gentle, to be forgiving, to be patient and kind. It is a grateful heart in me that joyfully trusts and obeys Jesus. I would now rather be hurt than to hurt someone else or grieve the heart of God. It took many years of following the good Shepherd before I could honestly say or write these words. It was many years before I recognized the extent of my own depravity, before rage and revenge, lust and pride within me were bound and excommunicated from my soul. But now, finally, I can say with the apostle Paul, “Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
Once we are fully constrained by love and His laws are written on the tablets of our hearts, when He has exchanged our hearts of stone for hearts of flesh (feeling and caring hearts), Jesus can, will, and wants to reveal Himself to us as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He wants to raise up “soldier-saints” who are willing and equipped to go into the Temple of God like He did and overturn the money changers’ tables. He wants His “soldier-saints” to topple all the idols, all the sacred cows we manufacture and sell - all the stars created by our religious, political, economic, academic and entertainment empires. In God’s eyes, celebrities are not standing on pedestals, but on dung heaps. The spirit of compromise with darkness must be dealt a death blow. Darkness cannot have fellowship with light. He wants captives and slaves of sin and deception to be set free.
In order for all of that to happen, the fullness of Christ must be expressed through earthen vessels, through you and me. Once we have learned to hear and obey the whispered words of the Lamb of God in our hearts, it is time for the Lion of Judah to appear on the stage of the world and roar - roar through you and me, His “soldier-saints”. I believe the time has come, the time is now, for the Lion of the tribe of Judah to become dominant in the lives of the saints. The time is now for the Lion of Judah to roar! We may lose a few “friends,” a few hitchhikers may bail out when the Lion of Judah first roars through you and me; but let’s not worry about that. These “friends” are probably leaches, “foolish virgins,” imposters, wolves in sheep’s clothing. And anyway, God has never asked anyone to enter a popularity contest. We only need Him to be whole. But He needs all of us for the mystical Body of Christ to be whole.
Do not expect a mature lion nature to be expressed through you or me overnight. It took much training for us to become full-grown sheep. Likewise, it will take much training for us to become full-grown lions. But we can be assured if anyone is prompted through this letter to invite the Lion of Judah to take up residence in his or her heart, that He will come in and renovate every fearful heart. You and I have invited the Lamb of God by faith and must in like manner invite the “Lion-King,” by faith.
Fear, torment and confusion are the greatest enemies “soldier-saints” have to overcome. When sleepless nights and racing thoughts tempt us to reach for that small pharmaceutical bottle with little white pills, the “soldier-saints” is no longer allowed to surrender to that enslaving solution. Instead, he must be willing to exit that warm womb called a “bed,” put on all the armor of God Paul speaks about in Ephesians, chapter 6, and fight Satan with all the strength within him. And there is plenty of strength, for it is written, “Greater is He (Jesus) that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4).
I remember the last battle I fought. It seemed my very life was at stake. The physical pain was great; but the mental torment was even greater. Fear of death tried to ravage my soul. Confusion tried to pull me in a hundred different directions. It was two o’clock in the morning. I threw back the covers, put on my clothes and armor and walked down dark and empty roads while a drizzle refreshed my flushed face.
Over and over I hurled the Scripture at Satan, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7). “Satan,” I thundered, “I would rather die fighting than allow you to paralyze my soul with fear one more hour.” Peace and clear direction finally settled upon my soul. I walked the last mile under an umbrella of twinkling stars. Satan was defeated in this battle.
Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid that the quality of mercy will be compromised in your beautiful heart when the Lion of Judah enters. Give Jesus the permission to use you as He needs you - sometimes as a lion and sometimes as a lamb. We are merely to offer Him our house, our earthen vessels to live in, our lips to speak through, our hands to heal, comfort and protect those who need to meet Jesus with skin on.
The greatest threat to Satan, who is darkness, is light, the light that comes from all Believers who are filled with Christ, who express the fullness of Christ - the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. May your life and mine be a total contradiction to darkness. May the Lamb of God whisper and the Lion of God roar through His servants and this letter. May the silent prophets of God in this land speak out for God now; and may all false prophets be exposed and be silenced forever.
A final thought - Being both a lion and a lamb may be contrary to our nature, our human nature; but it is not contrary to God’s nature. And it is His nature that we are to have and reflect to others.
Serving Jesus as Stretcher Bearer, Peter D. Laue