Wednesday, January 27

RUN TO THE ROAR

Feature message from Keith's book "OVERCOMING INTIMIDATION"



  Intimidation is one of the greatest hindrances to accomplishing anything significant in this life. If you have ever contended with peer pressure from classmates, approached your employer for a raise, walked into a gathering and just "knew" that everybody was talking about you, had to walk any distance in total darkness, tried to tell someone for the first time that you love them, or stepped out to share your faith, you know exactly what I am talking about. Fear shows up, that giant among emotions, often in the form of an anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach. Much like swimming upstream, the longer you stay in the situation, the stronger this unseen force seems to grow. You may even begin hearing things in your head, words that condemn you or put you down. Yes, even your own thoughts turn against you! Fear has gripped your heart, and you find yourself contemplating whether or not you are going to turn and run away.

Sound familiar? In fact, it is all too familiar, and for some it is a way of life, although it is not accurate to describe this as "living." So, if you are ever going to enter into the Abundant Life, you are going to have to learn not only to stand up in the face of intimidation, but also to fight your way through it. If you do, what awaits you on the other side will far exceed your greatest expectations. Always remember this crucial scriptural principle: "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion." (Proverbs 28:1)
Likewise, our old natures will flee when no one pursues us, but our new natures are bold as a lion. To illustrate this, I will relate an amazing story I once heard documenting the way some lions pursue and trap their prey. I find the lions' method quite intriguing since intimidation plays such a prominent role in the way they hunt for food.
As male lions grow old, not only do they slow down considerably, but their teeth also become brittle and painfully sensitive, making it very difficult for them to chase down and kill prey. In order for the big male lions to be able to eat on a regular basis, they recruit the female and young male lions of the pride to accomplish the difficult task of chasing down and killing their meals for them. With both the females and young males in tow, the ferocious-looking male lion sets off on his quest for something to eat. Once he has spotted a herd of animals feeding in the distance, he approaches them very stealthily. The big male, once in position, keeps as low as possible while the females and young males quietly position themselves on the opposite side of the intended prey. Once they are close enough to them, the old male lion rises up and lets out a tremendously loud and intimidating roar. At that fearsome sound, the herd begins running away from the old male in the direction of the waiting lions, not realizing that the big male lion is relatively toothless. Consequently, the female and young male lions are able to chase down and kill members of the herd with much greater ease; the intimidating sound of the old lion's roar literally drives the prey right into the jaws of death. The moral of the story is this: whenever you are confronted with an intimidating situation, head straight towards it. Therein lies your freedom! If the unsuspecting animals had only run into the intimidating roar of the old lion, more of them would have been around to graze another day.
This same principle is demonstrated in the account of the war between the Israelites and the Philistines in which David killed the champion of the Philistines, the giant Goliath. The situation that confronted God's people appeared to be quite dire. Goliath dominated the scene, demanding that the Israelites put forth a champion to face Goliath in one-on-one combat, winner take all. If Goliath won, as looked probable, the Israelites would become the slaves of the Philistines. Conversely, if Goliath lost, the Israelites would be the masters. The challenge was summarized by Goliath thus: "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together." (1 Samuel 17:11) The reaction of God's people to the roar of the giant was to flee, though no one was pursuing them; the giant was simply offering the challenge. "And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid." (1 Samuel 17:24)
Such was the situation on the day when David came into the camp of the Israelites at the instruction of his father. David was bringing supplies to his brothers and presents for their captain. In return, his father wanted David to find out how his brothers were doing. The occasion, however, was of the Lord, for David heard the words of Goliath and observed the terror amongst his own people.
Upon learning that no Israelite had volunteered to be the champion of his people, David offered his services to Saul their king, though David was but a youth. The king was reluctant, but eventually he acquiesced, and David went out upon the field of battle to face the giant: "And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine." (1 Samuel 17:40) The giant, looking with disdain upon the youth who stood before him, uttered words intended to quail the heart of the young warrior. "And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field." (1 Samuel 17:44)
David did not back down, neither was he dismayed or filled with fear. David was bold as a lion. "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
Thus the battle was joined: "And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled." (1 Samuel 17:48-51)
Note the significant phrase: "David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine." David ran to the roar! He refused to be intimidated by the giant, and God wrought a great victory that day.
We pray that this testimony and brief exhortation fans into flames your passion for loving, trusting, believing, and following God whole-heartedly.  If you allow those flames to burn and increase in your life with Christ, your life will be ever better... guaranteed!

Keep PRESSIN' IN!


"Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14)


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Find more messages like this one in another most-requested book of Keith's, "
Overcoming Intimidation" available on our website TowardTheMark.com.



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