“He’s not a tame lion.” This sentence is repeated frequently throughout the Narnia novels by C.S. Lewis. You may be familiar with the most famous of these, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In these novels, the land of Narnia is inhabited by talking animals, centaurs and fauns. And the true king of Narnia is the great lion Aslan. In these stories, Aslan represents Christ. And as Lewis says, “He is not a tame lion.”
Preachers often struggle with how to counteract the influence of cultural ideas in the thinking of Christians. We are all influenced by our culture and the ideas that are presented to us on the Internet or television or even in the gossip of our hometown. Often ideas that people like are linked with Christian religion to create a hybrid animal that is not true to Christianity at all.
The Bible tells us with certainty that God is love. If we know anything about real love, the Bible also says, it is because we have received it from God. John says “we love, because He loved us first.” Our culture has taken this notion of God’s great and gracious love and married it to the ideas that love means giving you everything that you want. Therefore, if God loves you, He will never make you feel bad or criticize what you are doing or ask you to change your behavior.
In other words, this God of our culture is a tame lion.
But like the Narnian lion Aslan, Jesus is “not a tame lion.” God loves you more than you can possibly understand. But the Bible is also clear that God’s love is about making you into a mature and holy human being. God’s love is not about giving you what you want to make you happy. If you are sinning, God’s Spirit is trying to bring you to repentance. As preacher/singer Keith Green once put it, “The heaviness you’re feeling may not be Satanic attack. It might be the Holy Spirit rebuking your sin.”
You can rest assured of God’s unfailing love for you. But be careful that you understand what God’s love truly is. Don’t accept a counterfeit.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC