May 29, 2017
“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 (NIV)
I have never owned a dog. I wasn’t looking for the perfect family pet — having three children is plenty of activity for me. Yet through a series of odd events, I found myself days away from bringing home a puppy.
The first time my children met the puppy, the pup’s protective mom bit my 10-year-old daughter Noelle. Talk about making a first impression!
Noelle was wiggly and unsure of herself around dogs. When she grew uncomfortable, she turned to run away, thus the bite on her back side.
She whispered solemnly and urgently, “Mom, I want to leave right now. I want to go back to the car.”
This visit, which Noelle had anticipated with happiness all week, was not going well.
Have you ever felt like that? You’ve entered a situation excited and full of courage, but then something goes wrong and it sends you sideways.
In today’s key verse, we learn more about what produces courage and displaces fear. This short proverb is power packed. On one side of the equation, you have wickedness and fear: “The wicked flee though no one pursues.”
On the other side, there’s righteousness and courage: “The righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Why do the wicked flee if no one is chasing them?
When I was growing up as a teenager, there were certain television shows I wasn’t supposed to watch. But when my parents weren’t home, I would sit close to the TV and watch the forbidden programs. I sat close so if I heard the garage open, I could quickly turn off the TV and run to the couch to pretend I was doing homework.
At the slightest noise or creak, my heart would race. I was fearful and fleeing although no one was pursuing me. And I’ve realized: When you have a guilty conscience, it’s difficult to be as bold as a lion.
The truly “wicked” don’t try to right their wrongs. You live in guilt when you repeatedly ignore your conscience. You imagine pursuers and accusations where there are none. Your own heart condemns you.
On the other hand, who are these brave, righteous souls, and how can I be counted among them? These believers aren’t courageous because they are perfect or because they have worked their way to the top.
They are righteous because they have been justified by faith in Christ. (Romans 3:28)
They are righteous because they trust in the Lord and believe by faith. (Genesis 15:6)
They are righteous because their sins are forgiven, and their spirits are not deceitful. (Psalm 32:1-2)
When we dwell on who we are in Christ — righteous and forgiven because of His death and resurrection — we become braver. We’re more motivated to live with a clean conscience with nothing to hide. How liberating to live in this truth: I am made right through faith in Christ!
Without Christ, there is much to fear in the world and in ourselves. But with Christ, you can stand firm, bold as a lion — even when you’re feeling like a little girl facing an intimidating dog. Lions are courageous in the face of opposition. They are symbols of strength and dignity.
Does this verse mean we’ll never experience fear since we are now made righteous? No, even the righteous can be timid as we see from biblical characters such as Abraham and Moses. However, we will fear less and trust more.
Noelle did meet our puppy that day. She is learning to stand tall and assertive, calmly walking through the yard … even when that mama dog is present. The righteous are as bold as a lion (and in my daughter’s case, that includes being brave with dogs).
Lord Jesus, the heavens proclaim Your righteousness. Thank You for rescuing me and delivering me from sin. I lay aside my fears and confess my sin before You. I put on the breastplate of righteousness to guard my heart and mind. May I be as bold as a lion, proclaiming Your power to change lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 54:14, “In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.” (NIV)
Could you use a little more boldness in your life? Have you reached your breaking point? Dreams. Programs. Jobs. Relationships. There are so many different areas where we feel like calling it quits. You might appreciate Nicki Koziarz’ 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.
Need more courage? Visit Arlene Pellicane’s blog today to find declarations based on God’s Word to increase courage and boldness in your life.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which side of the equation do you experience most days — fear or courage?
Picture yourself righteous and as bold as a lion. What would that look like? What might you say or do differently today?
© 2017 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.