Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Lion in the Streets

“There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!” (Proverbs 2:13)

Excuses, Excuses. We are a culture filled with excuses. We tend to look for anything to get out of bearing responsibility for much at all. Granted, we are busy and life is not slowing down. There is so much that has to be done. If we are going to pay our bills and get anything done around the house, we are going to stay busy. Plus, let us not forget about the time we must have for recreation and entertainment. There just is not much time to squeeze in for much else.

The problem is that we become so busy that we push out of our lives what is most important. Further, we might be active and hard-working in one area of life, but lazy in another. The question is, how often does God get relegated to the back seat of life? Have we become lazy in our spiritual growth and responsibilities? Perhaps we think that God would understand why we could put Him in the back seat for a while. Maybe we think that once things settle down a bit we can squeeze Him back into our lives and then make up for the lost time. God will surely understand, right? Of course, it doesn’t work that way (see Luke 9:57-62).

Excuses are characteristic of laziness. The sluggard cannot do anything because “there is a lion in the streets.” When we begin to procrastinate what needs to be done, we always seem to find some reason as to why it can wait. Unfortunately we don’t seem to get around to it, and we slowly forget. That is a fatal mistake when it comes to our Lord. Just remember what happened to Felix when discussing the gospel with Paul: “But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you’” (Acts 24:25). Do we suppose that Felix ever found that time? We do not know, but we do know that he was not prepared when he made that statement and he took a huge chance in putting off the inevitable.

The Scriptures teach that the Lord does not tolerate excuses in His kingdom, even with matters that seem to be highly significant for us (e.g., family and work). Read Luke 14:16-24. Jesus tells about a man who gave a dinner and invited many guests. When the time came for them to come, “they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ And another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ And another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’”

When these excuses were reported, the man became angry and said, “None of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.” The Lord does not tolerate excuses, and nothing put before God will be acceptable in this life (Matt 6:33). When we begin to make excuses in the Lord’s service, we are demonstrating spiritual laziness, and that will anger the Lord.

Now what about that lion? The lion is real. Spiritually speaking, there is, in fact, a “lion in the streets.” He is called Satan, our adversary, and he “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). Even so, there is no excuse for not going to work in the kingdom of God. In fact, spiritual laziness will result in the lion devouring us. Instead, we must be sober and on the alert, resisting him, firm in the faith (vv. 8-9). Knowing about this lion should spur us on to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12). Being afraid to work because of a “lion in the streets” is spiritual death, and God’s people should know better.

On the other hand, we serve a Lion who has overcome the evil one (Rev 5:5), so we should take courage. Once we understand God’s grace and salvation, there should be nothing stopping us from doing God’s works:  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph 2:10). We are to be “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). Paul further wrote:

“This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (Titus 3:8).

We have work to do. No excuses will suffice. Instead, there must be a resolved determination to do the will of God. Should God expect any less? “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Phil 1:27).