We pick up the vision story just as the man has taken his first step of faith. So far the journey has been one of intense struggle ... a journey marked with desperation and pain. A Lion has shockingly appeared before the man and invited him to follow Him. The man has taken his first step in following the Lion. He is filled with both wonder and fear ... he is walking a path he has never walked before. This struggle to follow reminds me of a quote from "Waking the Dead", a book by John Eldredge:
"The story of your life is the story of the journey of your heart through a dangerous and beautiful world. It's the story of the long and sustained assault on your heart by the Enemy who knows who you could be ... and fears you. But it's also the story of the long and mysterious pursuit of your heart by the God who knows you truly and loves you deeply."Following Jesus is an intense struggle. So often we forget that we forget that we have an Enemy. This is the way that Jesus, Paul and Peter put it:
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)Isn't it interesting that our spiritual battle involves two different lions ... Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and Satan, the roaring lion. I often get caught up in the journey - following Jesus and forgetting that I have an Enemy who fights me at every turn. This Enemy is happy to let me live from my head ... He offers little resistance when I am outwardly religious but confronts every step I take in becoming who I am at a heart level. He is happy to allow me to follow Jesus at a head level.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Following Jesus with our heads is a tiring and joyless trip into the land of burnout, frustration and discouragement. Following Jesus in this way affirms the idea that we do not have an enemy ... an adversary ... one who intensely wars against us to rob us and kill our hearts. When we awake to this spiritual warfare we begin to follow Jesus in a different way ... our prayer life is different ... our hearts begin to shine and we begin to experience life at a different level. It is only when we awake to the idea of spiritual warfare that we begin to take that leap onto the back of the Lion.