When you carry something on your back, it’s a sign of strength. I’ve cheerfully taken up my cross to follow Jesus. I’m glad to do it. I seek opportunities to serve like Christ served. I’ve learned that discipleship is a source of joy. It’s the truest joy! I’ve even literally put it on my back.
Paradoxically, though, there are those days when being a Christian itself feels like a burden. Sometimes we’re faced with challenges that seem insurmountable. We may not know what to do. We’re asking, “What does it mean to stand for Jesus?” And we really don’t know.
We might even ask, “Do I want to stand for Jesus?” As shocking as it sounds, sometimes we aren’t all that sure! Living like a Christian can be hard. It can be really frustrating. Sometimes we can be profoundly selfish. Even when our spirit is willing, our flesh can get rebellious.
What do you do when your heavy burden, the one Jesus offered to carry, is the burden of following Him?
Times like these do not feel good. You need courage, grace, and understanding while you’re asking, “This is so hard! How am I supposed to represent Christ today, when it is so hard?”
In times like these, maybe especially in times like these, our spirits long for Christ. We need reminders of who He is.
That’s why I got a lion tattooed on my shoulder.
You’ve seen a lion walk. He walks like he carries the world on his shoulders. But he does it with confidence. He’s strong. And when he looks at you, you see how brave he is. He’s full of courage. He is not afraid.
Why should he fear? He knows he’s the king of everything he sees.
Jesus is the lion. He’s the Lion of Judah. Jesus is the king! He’s the king of everything! And he gives us His lion mentality.
The lion mentality says, “You don’t have to fear. Don’t worry about what anyone thinks of you. Walk in who you are. Be who you are. You represent Christ! Be brave in that.”
Think about hanging out with lions. Watch what they do. Walking or laying down, the lion is very calm. He’s looking around. He’s just observing. But he can move into attack mode in the blink of an eye.
We need that calm, that strength, that ability to act in an instant. This is the lion mentality. Jesus is my savior who carries my heavy burdens and gives me rest, but He is also the lion. Sometimes I need that presence, too. Sometimes I need Jesus, my king.
There are days when I need a lion’s confidence, but I don’t feel it. There are days when I need a lion’s courage, but I don’t feel it. There are days when I need a lion’s strength, but I don’t feel it. Does it matter? No, because I know that Jesus has perfect confidence, perfect courage, and perfect strength. Always.
That’s why the tattoo says sola fide, faith alone, and sola gratia, grace alone. I know that when I need it, Jesus will give me a brave heart. He will give me the strength of a lion. And when I walk with the strength of a lion, so I walk with the grace of a lion. Jesus leads me to walk in His grace.
I know those days will come when it actually feels like a burden to live like Jesus. There will be days when the temptation to feel frustrated, angry, and selfish is almost overwhelming. I know. But when that happens, don’t surrender. Remember the lion, and receive Him.
Bless you. See you Tuesday.