As a kid, I remember visiting the Zoo for the first time and the excitement and awe I felt on that day. I was mesmerized by the many exotic animals that I had never seen before. I was amazed by the stature of the elephants and giraffes; by the power of the gorillas and bears and by the beauty of the tigers and leopards.
I was transported to a new and magical world that I didn’t know existed. My amazement and excitement grew as we visited every exhibit, but when we stopped to see the lion’s cave, I was totally paralyzed by the majesty of this creature. It is not called the “king of the jungle” in vain.
Throughout my life I have seen many other lions, in person and in movies or TV. I have also come into close contact with two of them. The first one is a mean and hungry feline that has always pursued me in order to destroy and devour me. I am referring to the enemy of my soul, whose sole purpose in life is to end mine.
The Bible warns us about him:
“Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
I have always tried to fight and overcome this lion, but I have always come up short when I attempted to do it on my own. He might be defeated and “toothless” but he is still a powerful and dangerous adversary.
The solution to this dilemma is to seek the help of a bigger Lion. The unbelievers do not have access to this Lion and are therefore defenseless against all the attacks of the evil lion. All these lost souls are the slaves of this wicked creature and cannot overcome the rule that he exerts over them.
I was a prisoner of this infernal lion for many years until the day that I was liberated by the King the lions. He roared with all his might and the evil lion fled from his presence. He removed all the shackles of my former master and told me to follow Him. At first, I didn’t know all about Him, but I knew for certain that this was a different Lion. He was good and kind and infinitely more powerful than the other lion.
When I looked into His eyes, I saw not the fearful eyes of a lion, but the loving eyes of a Lamb. I was afraid for many years, but not anymore because now I am the servant of the Lion of Judah; Jesus Christ, who died to set me free forever. My heart is now full of peace and joy and my fear has been defeated. My confidence does not rest upon myself, but upon the heavenly message that tells us:
“Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)
I have a bad habit, well I have many bad habits, but one of the worse ones (according to my wife) is that I allegedly chew food with my mouth open. I don’t know how many times she has brought this to my attention, but it has been more than a couple of times. Just the other day, I was eating my meal peacefully, when all of the sudden I heard a shrilling scream:
“CLOSE YOUR MOUTH PLEEEEASE!
In my defense, I don’t even realize when I am chewing with my mouth open. I notice this in other people eating around me, but I have no way of detecting this abominable behavior in my own life. I am not denying the fact that I do it; I just don’t notice it. One thing that I have noticed, however, is that when I do make a conscious effort to eat with my mouth closed, I feel very uncomfortable and the food doesn’t taste as good anymore.
The reason that I and everyone else need to chew food with our mouths closed is mainly so that we don’t offend the people around us. You might feel comfortable and the food will taste better in your open mouth (it is a fact!), but those near you will be disgusted by the sights and sounds.
And so, many of us refrain from chewing with our mouths open. We also do this when it comes to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. We do not want to offend others or to be offended by their apathy, mockery or insults.
Perhaps we need to close our mouths at the dinner table when we are eating, but we need to pray that God will open our mouths to proclaim the Gospel to everyone around us. I know that the sound of our preaching is more disgusting than our food chewing to unbelievers, but we must continue to preach the truth in love.
Open your mouth brother or sister. Declare your love for God openly to the whole world. I know this is a very scary thing to do for anyone. Moses didn’t want to do it (Genesis 4); Jonah didn’t want to do it (Jonah 1); Jeremiah didn’t want to do it (Jeremiah 20) and many others.
Chewing food with our mouths open might be annoying to others and embarrassing for us, but proclaiming that Jesus is our Lord and Savior is the best thing we can do with our mouths. There have been many believers throughout the ages that were ashamed of being saved by grace, but not Paul. He testified in Romans 1:16,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
I need to close my mouth more when I eat, but all of us must open our mouths to praise God, preach the Gospel and proclaim that Jesus is coming soon.