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Are You Living in Lion Country?

If you want to have an impact for Christ, you’ll need to be willing to trade the safety of compromise, peace, and comfort, and step into enemy territory.

By Dennis Rainey

I’ve been smelling “lion’s breath” recently. How about you? Have you ever gotten so close that you gagged at its odious smell?

Where have I been?

Lion country safari?

Kenya? Sudan? South Africa?

A zoo?

No—none of these.

So where have I been that I drew close enough to learn that lions have halitosis? Well, let’s just say that I’ve been in “lion country.”

Pastor, author and lecturer, A. W. Tozer made numerous visits there—in fact, he may have lived in lion country. After a particularly difficult time in his ministry, Tozer noted the following: “But I will tell you something—it is a delightful thing when you know that you are close enough to the adversary that you can hear him roar! Too many Christians never get into ‘lion country at all!”

After pondering Tozer’s observation for a bit, I concluded we not only should, but absolutely must take delight as we charge off into lion country. I’ve learned spiritual conflict means we’re about to do something worthwhile—something that will last for eternity.

The spiritual safari

What about you? Have you taken a “spiritual safari” into lion country? Do you know where it is?

“Lion country” is territory controlled by the devil. It is the daily domain of the ruler of this world. The Apostle John comments on the whereabouts of lion country, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

Because God has given Satan permission to rule on earth, a struggle for power and dominion has resulted. Yet many Christians are unaware that enemy territory even exists. Peter warns, “ Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).

Lions in Africa prey on weak, unsuspecting animals, and those struggling behind the protection of the herd. Likewise, the devil “prowls about” seeking to deceive (devour) those with weak convictions and naive beliefs. Christians who refuse to submit to the accountability of other believers in the local church find themselves isolated and defenseless—delicious prey for the crafty deceptor.

How does a lion devour its prey? One bite at a time. I wonder at times if twentieth-first century Christians have been mesmerized by prosperity and busy schedules while the enemy has already chewed off three quarters of their leg!

However, instead of being prey, Christians must be aggressive soldiers recapturing the land for Christ. The goal of our battle is to confine the enemy to limited spheres of influence—just as the lions of Africa are limited to the confines of game preserves. When Christ returns, He will lock up the enemy forever (Revelation 20).

Learning to invade

So why all the fuss about lion country?

Far too many Christians are being fooled by the enemy. Dabbling in spiritual things, they play church. Jesus Christ may be a part of their lives, but He isn’t their life.

I know, I’ve been there—for more than a decade as a young man I was the prey of the enemy. I thought I knew what was best for me. I ran the show—God was only there as an emergency Savior—just when I was in a crisis and needed Him.

But there’s more to Christianity than that. Armed with the greatest truth the world has ever heard, the gospel, we fearfully retreat to our spiritual bunkers and wait for an unsaved world to come to us. Instead of invading, we disengage and play it safe.

Successful invaders are risk takers—they are men and women of faith and action. The victory will go to those who are willing to move their faith 18 inches from their head to their heart. Victory belongs to the one who starts the race and, with God’s grace, finishes it.