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Favourite quote #9. “The Word of God is like a lion…”

On more than one occasion Charles Spurgeon used the following illustration in a sermon:

“The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.”

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Image by Evan Animals on Flickr

I don’t know if he used those exact words, or if that quote is a summary of the point he is known to have made in two sermons; his Christ and His Co-Workers sermon he says:

“A great many learned men are defending the gospel; no doubt it is a very proper and right thing to do, yet I always notice that, when there are most books of that kind, it is because the gospel itself is not being preached. Suppose a number of persons were to take it into their heads that they had to defend a lion, a full-grown king of beasts! There he is in the cage, and here come all the soldiers of the army to fight for him. Well, I should suggest to them, if they would not object, and feel that it was humbling to them, that they should kindly stand back, and open the door, and let the lion out! I believe that would be the best way of defending him, for he would take care of himself; and the best “apology” for the gospel is to let the gospel out. Never mind about defending Deuteronomy or the whole of the Pentateuch; preach Jesus Christ and him crucified. Let the Lion out, and see who will dare to approach him. The Lion of the tribe of Judah will soon drive away all his adversaries.”

It’s a wonderful point.

I’ll also take this moment to share possibly my all-time favourite quote outside of the Bible, also from the indomitable Spurgeon, though I only know it written in reported fashion:

Spurgeon is quoted as saying that he was so sure of his salvation that he could grab on to a cornstalk and swing out over the fires of hell, look into the face of the devil, and sing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”.

I’d be hard pressed to say how much I love that quote.

A superlatively random collection of 11 very short, quotable quotes

1. I just speed-read War and Peace. It’s about some Russians. (Woody Allen)

2. Life reeks with possibilities. (Lauren Bacall)

3. Remember, candy is dandy, but fruit makes you poop. (Kim Possible)

4. It might have been […] chance, or its more flamboyant relative, destiny. (Carlos Ruiz Zafón)

5. You have a tremendous grasp of the obvious. (Wipeout)

6. Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. (L. Peter & R. Hull)

7. If you want to forget all your troubles, wear tight shoes. (Anon)

8. Whether they find life there or not, I think Jupiter should be considered an enemy planet. (Jack Handy)

9. There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good. (Edwin Denby)

10. I woke up this morning in the mood to not be awake. (23thorns)

11. I have learned from my mistakes, and I am sure I can repeat them exactly. (Peter Cook)

Favourite quote #8. “Never believe, accept, or affirm that because you are down you are defeated.”

Wonderful words! Amazing! Stinking wonderbaar! These words, from Faith for Daily Living, really resonated with me when I read them. The implication is this: Jesus ALWAYS redeems, restores, and renews. Always, always.

ae89bc0f89313d5c4ddf4a581071a022I think the real problem often enters in when we’ve been down so long that we start to believe we’ll never be ‘up’ again, and that this is therefore the ‘new me’ or a new, depressing way of being. Squash that thought! Jump on its sorry head! God’s plans are always to redeem you, restore you, and renew you. Always, always. So we must never “believe, accept or affirm” that we are defeated, because if Jesus is our saviour, he won’t let us stay down forever – he will help us walk up out of that valley to reach the heights again, where we are able to see far and clearly, and feel the wind against our faces.

If you do believe you’re defeated, you’ve believed a lie. It just is not true. Grief, pain, loneliness, failure, and all those things – they are REAL, and they HURT, but they are not your destiny. They are not going to be your life. Not when you are in Christ, because he is a conqueror, and his love and power and heart of kindness towards you are greater than the sum of all your fears.

What does it mean to “affirm” that because we are down we must also therefore be defeated?

Answer: we speak it. We say any or all of the following aloud:

  • “This is it. I’m done.”
  • “I can’t take it anymore.”
  • “I give up.”
  • “This is too hard – I’m over it.”
  • “I don’t believe things will ever change.”

Honestly, I’ve said them all at some point over the past 12 months. Sometimes more than once, and sometimes with real feeling.

But words have power, and so I probably made things harder for myself by speaking them. We should never speak defeat aloud over our lives. In faith, even if it’s just a stubborn, darn-it-I-WILL-believe sort of faith, speak aloud only biblical truth, so that the powers and principalities in the world that are industriously at work against you may know the truth.

I’m not saying don’t be honest and open with someone like a friend, family member, pastor or counsellor. We’re not to be superstitious or scared of sharing our true thoughts and feelings. But I believe (based on the book of James in the Bible as well as elsewhere) that our words have greater potency than we often realise. James 3:6 tells us that our words are like sparks that can set the whole course of a life on fire if we are not careful about what we say!! That’s sobering. Words can set a whole life on FIRE! Hectic stuff. Basically, you can ruin your life through words. (Not irredeemable ruin – there’s no such thing in the spiritual sense – but ruinous consequences.)

Back to why we should speak scriptures aloud, but not destructive words …. When we speak words from the Bible, what do demons and Satan hear? They hear the voice of God. It may be our human voices, with accents and cadences all our own, speaking the words out loud, but for all intents and purposes Satan et al. hear the voice of God, because it is the living Word of God we are speaking. They hear God’s authoritative voice, and so they flee. Remember that Satan is not omniscient. He doesn’t know our inner thoughts. But when we give voice to negative thoughts and unbelief, he has more to work with.

As someone who rather likes to talk, and who has had years of majoring in self-deprecating humour, I realised some time ago that I need to be careful how I joke around, because often there’s a kernel of belief in what I say. I can still have plenty of fun, but I choose my jibes more carefully now, not adding fuel to the fire of my doubts, shortcomings and insecurities.

Sometimes I still do believe or am tempted to believe that I am in fact defeated. But I am working at not giving voice to those thoughts. When I think them, more and more often I am remembering to speak aloud the opposite from Scripture, for example: “I have not been given a spirit of despair, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Boom! Take that, powers and principalities! In saying that verse and others like it, I have chosen not to affirm the lie that has entered my mind, and has perhaps been accepted in whole or in part. I am instead fighting the battle for my mind with the sharp, sharp sword of victory.

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If you found this helpful or encouraging, you might also like to read any of the following:

Heaven is cheering me on

Little-Faith

From the Hope Blooming in Darkness blog: Red Raw and Itching

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