There’s a small zoo in my hometown that boasts a lion as one of the main attractions. But if you pay close attention, there’s something terribly wrong. This lion doesn’t roar. Instead, he lay silent with his face pressed against the dirt of the earth.
I imagine the lion initially welcomed the attention as the main attraction. He was well fed and he roared on occasion to keep his admirers entertained. But in time, the chains of captivity robbed him of hope. His booming roar became a quiet grumble as the thrill of life became a distant memory.
But as I look as this lion, I see something else. To me, this lion is a picture of the modern-day man.
Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with countless men from the ages of twenty-two to sixty-two and one of the most striking similarities I see is that men are searching. They’re searching for a legacy that’s bigger than their bank account and a career that doesn’t cage in their true identity.
Much like William Wallace from Braveheart, they’re searching to rekindle the warrior within. The one who roars “FREEDOM” at the top of his lungs because he’s poured every ounce of his life’s energy into something bigger than himself.
But we live in a culture that has convinced men that it’s easier to make money than worry about the desires of their heart.
Slowly, subtly, we have trapped men with the noble idea of provision. And day by day, at jobs they don’t love, they become captive. Apathy becomes easier than passion and instead of inspiration they settle for entertainment.
Modern-day man has bought the lie that comfort is a suitable replacement for peace and starved for real purpose, their chief aim has become security. The childhood longing for greatness has atrophied into a weak muscle that is no longer willing to suffer in order to grow.
Our Longing For a True Identity
When Adam fell in the garden, the sweat of his brow became man’s curse—busyness, stress, ambition and fear. Subtle idols that stake claim over our hearts. As a result, we live in pendulum-like fashion bouncing back and forth between the ends of the spectrum. Work or rest. Entertainment or inspiration. Security or purpose. Apathy or passion.
The enemy loves to cure us of one ailment by giving us another.
But there is a solution. And that solution begins when we’re courageous enough to discover who we truly are. As men, we must understand the DNA of our birth. We are sons of God. We have a Father who promises to fight for us, who says that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, that we are not to live in fear and that He has overcome the world.
Those words must come to life in our hearts. Breaking free isn’t about being “manly”, it’s about trusting God at His word and receiving His blessing—the blessing of sonship.
But the challenge is, “How?”
A New Life
Great heroes teach us that at some point, we have to make a decision to leave the home. Whether its Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings or Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars movies, at some point, you have to leave the comfort of your current way of thinking and embrace a new life. The lion has to leave the cage.
The only way to know God, to truly understand who He is and what He has promised you, is to let go of your own understanding. We have to be willing to die to ourselves. The upside-down nature of the Christian faith is that only death can bring life. And this isn’t just lip service. God went so far as to model it for us on a cross.
Now we don’t have to physically die, but we do have to surrender. Instead of saying all the right things with one hand raised to God while the other hand clings to everything the world has to offer, we must truly let go. When dead men come alive with the hope of the gospel, lives will change.
Dead Men Coming Alive
I have a picture of dead men coming alive—lions breaking free of their chains.
Men who love God with their full hearts. Men who read His Word, not to check off a box, but because they understand that it is the doorway to a relationship with Him. From that place of humility, an adventure will begin. An adventure of leading, not for the sake of control, but for the sake of His glory.
I see men using their gifts and talents to do more than simply earn a paycheck. Men who realize that money is simply a resource to be stewarded instead of paper to be hoarded. I see men whose lives overflow with generosity because they understand what they’ve been given. Men who worry less about politics and power and economics because they know that isn’t what defines them. Then, entertainment can become something to enjoy instead of a means of escape.
As a result, I see families and cities and cultures transformed.
Men, lions weren’t created to live in cages and neither were we.
It’s time to break free.