September 25, 2020
Lion chasers experience the same fears as everyone else. I bet Benaiah was afraid of the boogeyman as a kid. But lion chasers have learned to face those fears. They have unlearned the fear of uncertainty, the fear of risk, the fear of looking foolish, and the countless other fears that could hold them back. Their faith has been defragmented. They don’t necessarily know more than other people. But they have unlearned the fears that kept them captive. And they all did it the same way: by chasing their fears instead of running away from them. They exposed themselves to the very thing they were afraid of.
Abraham led Isaac to Mount Moriah and placed him on the altar. Moses went back to Pharaoh forty years after running away as a fugitive. And Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan himself.
Is there an Isaac you need to sacrifice on the altar? Is there a pharaoh you need to face? Or maybe God is calling you into the wilderness for a season?
Lion chasers don’t hide from the things they fear. They chase lions into pits. They expose themselves to the sources of their terror because they know it is the only way to overcome them. Lion chasers have a high threshold for fear because they have built up fear immunity.
Years ago I went to the doctor’s office for an extensive battery of allergy tests. My doctor wanted to find out what allergens trigger my asthma. The nurse-practitioner pricked my forearm in eighteen places with different allergens and said, “Don’t scratch.” It was like Chinese water torture. I had to resist the urge to scratch the itch for fifteen of the longest minutes of my life!
But testing for allergies isn’t a pointless exercise in cruel and unusual punishment, even though it might seem like it. It is a form of reverse engineering. My doctor wasn’t satisfied with treating my allergy symptoms. She wanted to discover the root causes of my reactions. And the solution isn’t just avoiding those allergens. The cure is actually exposing myself to them in small doses.
Here is my point. The cure for the fear of failure is not success. It’s failure. The cure for the fear of rejection is not acceptance. It’s rejection. You’ve got to be exposed to small quantities of whatever you’re afraid of. That’s how you build up immunity.
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.
Mark’s book, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, helps readers look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. Stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day is inspired by one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture, a blessed and audacious act that left no regrets: “Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it” (2 Samuel 23:20 -21)