Culture Saturday: Tame the Lions
Let’s close out Spurgeon’s sermon on Psalm 57. Two weeks ago we looked at finding comfort when lions— vicious, blood-thirsty, non-believers— abound. Last week was patience, “[t]he less they love you, love them all the more. Baffle the lions.”
The ungodly are lions, and you are not; do not try to meet them in their own line. You will never roar as well as they do. If you are a Christian man, you have not the knack of roaring. Leave them to do it. Your way of meeting them is not by losing your temper and abusing your antagonists, and so becoming a lion yourself; but you must conquer them with gentleness, patience, kindness, love. I pray you, dear brothers and sisters who have to bear a good deal for Christ’s sake, do not get soured in spirit. There is a tendency in a martyr age to become obstinate and pugnacious. You must not be so. Love, love, love; and the more you are provoked, love the more. Overcome evil with good. I think it necessary to mention these cautions, because I know many require them.
Among Lions, sermon by Charles Spurgeon
I want to call out a few things here.
“Your way of meeting them is not by losing your temper and abusing your antagonists, and so becoming a lion yourself; but you must conquer them with gentleness, patience, kindness, love.”
Don’t become a lion to deal with the lions. Ill-tempered, abusive, taunting. You should be gentle, patient, kind, and loving. That is how we are to conquer.
There is a tendency in a martyr age to become obstinate and pugnacious.
Stubborn and quick to argue. Pugnacious is a juicy word. Sorry, I’m a word nerd. We cannot, as Christians, be these things. Proverbs is full of advice on how to argue, how to avoid arguments, when to argue, and probably more important than anything: when to shut up. The human ability to talk ourselves into arguments that we do not belong in and then stubbornly stay in those arguments when we do not belong there and have no ability to either win or bring glory to God through them is hubris.
Love, love, love; and the more you are provoked, love the more.
Christian, we are called to be unlike the world. We are called to do many things that go against the grain of the world. Loving no matter what and loving more when the world hates is quintessentially Christian.
[T]he braver thing is to ask for grace to stop with the lions and tame them.
Sometimes you are called to endure persecution— the taunting, the backstabbing, the slander, the lies— because you are there to show Christ’s love. You are there to show Christ’s patience. Christ’s mercy. Christ’s grace. And slowly soften the lion. Beg their curiosity.
Sometimes the Christian man should say, “No: God has made me strong in grace; and I will stop here, and fight it out. These are lions, but I will tame them. I believe that God has put me here on purpose to bring my fellow-workmen to the Saviour, and by his grace I will do it.”
Steadfast. Christian, be steadfast. Loyal to the cause. Steady and resolute. If God calls you to stand amongst lions— whether they are coworkers, classmates, or family members— then you stand amongst the lions.
I hope that we have some drops of that grand Christian blood still in our veins; and if we have, we shall feel that we could go to the gates of hell to win a sinner. You are not like your Master unless you would die to save men from hell.
Spurgeon is a world-favorite preacher and this makes me think of another quote from him.
If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.
If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for. One of the many reasons you continue here after finding Christ— instead of just being yoinked into Heaven for safekeeping— is to reach others for Christ. Tame the lions. Pray for them. Warn them. Preach the word to them. We should be willing to do everything to win a sinner including dying. Look to your history Christian, look to the martyrs of our faith. How many walked into plague-ridden hospitals to win sinners, how many walked into cannibal tribes to win sinners, how many traveled to distant lands and faced down those that wished them dead just to win sinners. Look at how many of our brothers have had their throats slit by Muslims, how many were used as candles by Nero, and how many have been burned alive at the stake for not rescinding their Lord’s name and worshiping gods of wood and stone. Christian, that grand blood is still in our veins. And it calls for you to die to show others that they may live. To truly live.
It will be a grand thing for you to come one day to the church-meeting with two or three of your neighbours whom you have been the means of converting to Christ. I like to see a man march, if he can do it, with a tame lion on each side. When a man has by God’s grace brought some of those that were drunkards and swearers to the feet of Jesus, oh, it is a grand triumph.
Christian, tame the lions. Bring them to the feet of Jesus.
This sermon should be read in full if you have the time. Charles Spurgeon was a man of good words. I could grab so many words and phrases from just this one sermon and learn. But I find it is very important in an age where the lions are begging more for our blood, demanding that we lose our jobs because of our views— views that remain unchanged over thousands of years—, demand that medical licenses be removed, demand that they not be allowed to teach students, and even dreaming of us being burned alive at the stake. Yes, this sermon is as important as it was the day it was preached, just as true today.