I love all those nature shows on TV or those movies about the wild kingdom. It is amazing to see God’s creativity in all that He has made. I also like learning about the instinctive and learned behaviors God installed into these animals. God has even used actions of nature to teach us.
Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
For more about what to learn from God’s amazing creation of the ant read Proverbs 6:6-11. Jesus challenges us using animal illustrations…
Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
The Apostle Peter used a feared animal to describe our enemy…
1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
It is this lion I want to talk about for a moment. Because though the devil is not behind every conflict, the reality is he and his minions are behind much of conflicts and disagreements we face at home, at school, at church, and at work (see Ephesians 6:10-18). Our enemy is crafty and his roar is fear inducing. I was at the zoo one time near the lion’s enclosure when a lion roared, it sent shivers up and down my spine and a bit of fear gripped my heart. A lion roars to get his prey to run in fear, for in fear we make deadly mistakes.
So as these lion-type conflicts occur how do we deal with them? Now, there are many wise and helpful conflict resolution options and formulas out there with specifics steps and of course Matthew 18:15-35 is a great guide, so seek them out and study Matthew 18. In addition, I found a painting by Brition Riviere called Daniel’s Answer to the King very encouraging and challenging (go to http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/briton-riviere/daniel-s-answer-to-the-king-1890). It is a depiction of the story of Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den, Daniel 6:1:28. The challenge was that though the lions were ready to pounce, God had closed their jaws so they did not devour Daniel, Daniel kept his focus on God. Brition depicted that by having Daniel standing calmly facing upward towards God.
As I viewed that painting and read again Daniel 6, I was challenged to look up to God even among the fearful roars and to-close-for-comfort lion-type conflicts.
To see and remember God’s amazing love:
1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
To see and know God’s tangible care:
Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
To see and believe in God’s trusted guidance:
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
To see and join in on God’s sovereign plan:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
To see and acknowledge God’s generous loving-kindness:
Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
When we do this, life aligns Matthew 6:33, love reigns 1 John 4:18, and peace prevails Philippians 4:6-7…and we can go through that conflict resolution with God’s perspective and no fear…even if we feel the hot breath of hungry lions at our back. I know I was challenged and I hope you are too.
Seeking to focus on God when lion-type conflicts occur with you,