We sent out Christmas cards on which was a picture of a lion and a lamb. The inscription said, “And peace filled the land”. I looked at that picture and said, “My, my! Now that’s overcoming! Can you imagine that meek little lamb walking up to the lion and lying down? That took courage!” But God said to me, “No. That’s not what I am saying. Don’t you see that it took more for the lion to overcome than the lamb?”
“Oh, Lord, don’t tell me that! I’ve been building myself up to be a mighty man of God – a man of faith and power! And now you say this to me! I’m not sure I understand.” And then He showed me that because I have developed some areas of strength, I need to understand more than ever about being an overcomer.
First, I must see that Jesus is BOTH lion and lamb. “The Lion of Judah” is also the “Lamb of God, SLAIN from the foundation of the world”. By understanding this, I can see that OVERCOMING is not a one-time act. It is an everyday process. OVERCOMING is what WE ARE! I have to OVERCOME every day of my life. There are times in my life where, as a lamb, I can rise up to the place of being a lion. Courage can rise up within me, and I know the Song of Glory! I can step forth in Paul’s power-in-God. but it’s far more difficult for me when I know where I stand as a lion in God, and I have to turn and become as that lamb. They are one and the same: The Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God! It takes just as much of Jesus in me for the lion to be an overcomer as it does for the lamb. It’s one and the same. If we go at being an overcomer as though we were on a one-way street, we’ll get run over. There are seasons for one, and there are seasons for the other; but they are one and the same. Being an overcomer is neither a one-time act, nor is it a formula.
Let’s take a specific situation. You have come to the place in your life that you feel it is God’s call to you to stand in the place of the Lion of Judah for the benefit of others in the Body. BE CAREFUL! There is a thing called PRIDE and SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, taking the place of Godliness in our lives. When we start to tell someone, “You’d better do this . . . [or] that”, our own lives had better be “WE ARE” rather than “WE SAY”. When I begin to react to someone about something they did or said, God says to me, “Larry, remember where you came from”.
All my life I have heard, “In EVERYTHING give thanks”. Brothers would come to me and say, “Larry, you need to give thanks”, but I could not do it. When the Lion of Judah hung on the cross, He did not say, “Thank you, Lord, for what you are doing to me”. He said, “MY GOD, MY GOD, why have You forsaken me?”
Now hear me carefully. When Jesus, the Lion of Judah knew that He was now to become the sacrificial Lamb, slain for the world, He cried out, “My God, my God, WHY?” In essence, He was thanking God! Everything of this world had been taken away. There was nothing left, and He had to depend on God alone. And God was about to welcome the Lamb back to His throne. “In EVERYTHING give thanks.” I’ll bet some of us charismatics would have said to Him, “you shouldn’t ask why. You should have said, ‘Thanks'”. But there are times when we just cannot say “thanks”. But let me encourage you. Every time the Israelites, after their sinning, cried out to God, He answered their cries. As we go on with God, we see that it is in these tough places that He is teaching us to say “thanks” to Him. If we didn’t have these unpleasant experiences in our lives, we could never, with the Spirit, say, “I thank You for what You are doing in me”.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 29, March 1983.