Jentezen Franklin - Chase The Roar
I want you to look with me in Proverbs 22:13: "The lazy man says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!'". That's it. That's what I wanna preach on. The sluggered or the lazy man. One translation said the man who's not a self-starter makes excuses. Isn't that powerful? He says I can't do what I'm supposed to do, what I'm called to do, what I'm put here for, a reason to do because there's a lion in the street. There was no lion in the street, but he was making an excuse for why he could not do well. He was blaming circumstances in life, and he said I'm just gonna stay here because there's a lion in the street.
What's the point of trying? What's the point of believing for something good? What's the point of getting out there and giving it all that I've got? There's a lion in the street. The answer that you need to have is one of self-understanding that I have to be filled with the Word of God and the promises of God so that I don't offer excuses as to why I'm not doing what God has called me to do. This man is a man who's living under the bondage of excuses. The Bible said work out your own salvation. In other words, you've gotta do your own praying.
You can't blame it on this, that, and the other. You've gotta do your own worshipping. You've gotta do your own coming to the house of God. You've gotta do your own of breaking this book open. Your father's faith or granny's faith, it will not get you to heaven and if you keep saying and offering excuses as to why you can't live for God; I can't live it, I can't do it, I can't over come it, I can't get free, I've tried it and I can't do it, and I just give up, there's a lion in the street, what the enemy has done is he has built up a stronghold in your mind. He creates an imaginary problem for justifying staying inside of that place of defeat. He excuses himself from doing what he ought to do, what he's supposed to be, and what he's supposed to accomplish in life because he's living in excuses.
Well, everybody else, or this or that, and it's nothing but lions in the street. There is not a lion in the street. It's an imaginary problem meaning that the enemy has filled the mind of this man with the concept "What's the use? You can't do it," and he's making up an excuse that there's a lion, but it's an imaginary lion. You need to be set free from your fear in this new year; your inhibitions, your doubts, and your unholy imaginations because they will hold you back. They will defeat you, and they will rob you of God's will for your life. You need to say like the apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".
Enough with the excuses. Enough with justifying failure in your life. If you wanna get free, you can get free. If you wanna change, you can change. If you wanna be a better person, you can be a better person. If you wanna have joy, you can have joy. It's a lion in the street, and that lion has convinced you in your mind that you cannot change, but I'm here to slay some lions today with a word which is the sword of the Spirit. I believe before we leave this room there are gonna be dead carcass lions spiritually laying on the ground in your home, in your family, in your marriage, and in your dream. God is going to slay some lions. Clap your hands and believe God for something great. Amen.
I love this now. You've gotta track with me. Because as sure as I'm standing here, the Lord told me that somebody would be here who's already said I can't live for God. I've tried it, and I can't change. I've gone too far down the road. I've got too much stuff. I've gotten into too much. I know too much. I've experienced, and I can't quit. I can't change. I can't get out of this house because there's a lion in the street. Well, here's what the Bible says. Everybody got a Bible? If you don't have one, you've got one in your phone. If don't, get one in your phone. But everybody hold your Bible up right now. Just hold it up. Just hold it up, everybody. Hold it up in the air. Why are you doing that? 'Cause that makes the devil nervous. Hallelujah!
Now, here's what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10. It says, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God," listen to this, "to the pulling down of strongholds," and notice this statement that most people totally ignore, "and casting down imaginations". That's that lion in the street: imaginations. The word imaginations come from the word image. In other words, Satan feeds you word and thoughts that create an image in your mind; an image of a failure, an image of an addict, an image of a person who can't stop and can't change, and I've been smoking for 30 years, and I can't quit. I've been drinking. I can't quit. I can't stop. I can't change. I keep going right back. Like I come, I pray, I get saved. But where's the battle at? Casting down imaginations.
First of all, he said pull down strongholds. Strongholds are things that are external that block you from your progress on the journey to your purpose, but I want you to see is that's outside things. That's physical things sometimes. That's situations we face in life, but notice the real danger too is imaginations are internal, not external, and casting down those imaginations. He wants the image that he's fed you to be in your mind that you can't live it, none of your friends are living it, nobody's living it. That is a lie, and you need to cast it down. God's gonna have somebody who's gonna live it. And you know what? You need to ask yourself are you happier? Are you happier now that you've embraced a life where the enemy has shown you an image that you are nothing but a slave to sin? Are you happy? It won't make you happy. Only Jesus can satisfy your soul, and I need some people who believe it still to shout like it's the truth.
You know what I'm waxing? I'm waxing strong right now. I feel the Lord saying I want somebody to boldly proclaim that you cannot let anything, the battle that is going on is the battle for your mind. It's so true. Many are fighting wars in their minds and if that thing does not line up with what God says about you, it's a lie, and you need to cast down that imagination and run to the roar. That's what I'm preaching on. Run to the roar. If there's a lion out there saying you can't do it, you can't live it, run to the roar and say you know what? Here's the word of God, and I'm gonna fight for my dreams, and I'm gonna fight for my future, and I'm gonna fight for my freedom because Jesus purchased it at Calvary. I can't live for God. I can't be faithful. I can't stop lying. I can't do this. I can't do that. I can't.
Well, let me tell you what Philippians 4:8 said. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely," that didn't say, none of that has said depressed, defeated, beat up, kicked in the teeth, tore up from the floor up, "whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, think on these things, and you will begin to slay the lion". Imaginary problems that make us live in excuses. Excuses. In Mark 5. Same story. In the Book of Luke, I think it's the eighth chapter. But there's a man who is so demon-possessed that he had a legion of demons. A legion is 6,000. It was a reference to the Roman squadron that had 6,000 soldiers in it.
Now listen to me. This man had a real problem. The Bible described him as someone that so hated himself that he cut himself. See, that's a stronghold. That's an image that has taken root in his thinking, and now he hates himself, and he's cutting himself, and they said no man could tame him. The counselor couldn't help him. The common-sense people talking with him and trying to reason. They couldn't help him and counselors couldn't help him. Psychologists couldn't. Pills couldn't. Nothing could help him. They would put him in chains, and those demons would give him supernatural strength, and he would break the chains. This man had a real problem, and the moment he encountered Jesus he didn't offer any excuses. He had a real problem, and he fell down at his feet, and the Bible said he was set free by Jesus, and he was found sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and in his right mind.
If a man with a real problem could have one service, one encounter with Jesus, and it set him that free, what can God do for many of you who have an incredible future, but you're allowing a lion in the street, an excuse to tell you you'll never be free, you'll never succeed, you'll never be worth anything? It's a lying spirit, and we need to slay the lion. It's an imaginary problem. When I read in 1 Samuel 22 about David this week, I saw that the Bible said 400 men came to David when he went to this cave. He was afraid of Saul, and he was hiding in a cave, and 400 men who were in debt, who were in distress, who were discontent which means their life was just miserable. They were in distress. They didn't have answers. They couldn't fix nothing. It was spinning out of control. They were in debt which in Bible days meant they could take your children to pay your price.
If you didn't pay the debt, they could enslave family members to become slaves to pay the debt. It was a serious situation, and 400 men who had no dream came to a man in a cave who had a dream because he had been anointed to be king of Israel. If you don't have a dream, don't hang around other people who are in the pit too. Get around somebody who has a dream that God has given them. Listen, because dreams are highly contagious. If you get around the right people, they will stir up the gift that is within you. If you get around the wrong people, they will destroy the gift that is within you. But I don't want church to be a bunch of do this and don't do that and do this. First of all, you've gotta fall in love with Jesus. The one who bled and died, the one who suffered, the one who carried your shame, carried your pain and carried your failure. He carried that to the cross and crucified it.
Don't tell me the Gospel doesn't work. To do so is to spit in that Savior's face. It works. And when they get in the cave, David has 400 men who are defeated, and they're all in this cave, this big cave, and the Scripture said the prophet came to him, and he said these words, "Thus says the Lord, abide not in the hold but go to the land of Judah". Don't abide here. You're being held here, and you're using excuses as to why you're staying here, and I can't make mighty men out of these people that I sent to you, David, in a cave. You can't sit here and make excuses. There's a lion in the street. You've got to say, alright, Lord, I'm coming out of this hold, and he said abide not in the hold, but here's how you do it. Go to the land of Judah. The word Judah means praise.
When Leah was trying to please her husband Jacob, she thought because he doesn't love me, he loves my sister because he wanted to marry Rachel, you remember the story in the Bible, but they tricked and put a veil over Leah, and he accidentally married here, and he didn't know it until the next day, and he didn't love her. This is in your Bible if you'd read it. He didn't love her, and she started having babies with him, and she said every time and she had three children, three boys, that became the tribes of Israel, and on the third child, the first one she said this time he'll love me because I'm giving him, Rachel's barren. She can't have children. I'm giving him babies, so he'll love me. I'm giving him sons. I'm giving him heirs.
And you know what? The Bible says he didn't love her. She had another baby, and she said he'll love me. No. She had another baby. He'll love me. No. Then she had that fourth one, and she said I'm gonna name this one myself, and she said I'm gonna name this child, "This time I will praise". In other words, I am not going to allow the fact that this situation is real, but I'm going to the land of Judah. Don't stay in the hold. Go to the land of Judah. And say with God's help I can do all things. If He said it, He can back it up. Quit, quit being afraid. Listen, this is a big point. If you're looking for an excuse, you'll always find one. If you're looking for an excuse why you can't live for the Lord, you'll find them every day.
We spend our lives running away from things we're afraid of. Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. I can't. There's a lion in the street. There's a lion in the street. Face your fears. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God. If your dream doesn't scare you, it's too small. There's this verse in 2 Samuel 23:20 that I really want you to get ahold of. It says this. It says that, "Another time," this man named Benaiah, "on a snowy day, he chased a lion". For some reason, I missed that phrase: "He chased a lion". Normal people don't chase lions. Lions chase normal people. But I'm praying that something I will say today will not make your mentality be so weak that as you go into a new year you, you will make excuses and say there's a lion in the street.
If there is a lion in the street, chase the roar. And if your dream doesn't scare you, it's too little. When everything is said and done, God is not going to say to you, "Well said, thou good and faithful servant. Well thought. Well planned. Man, you really wrote out a life plan. Wow"! There's one measuring stick, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant". Faithfulness is not holding the fort. God has called us to play offense with our lives. Not to be afraid of the lions in the streets.
I read something this week about a screenwriter, famous screenwriter in New York City, and he does this big seminar, and this guy said the bottom line on it, and he sat through hours and hours and hours for people who feel like they have a gift of writing, and they wanna write stories and create movies and pitch ideas, and you know, that's their gifting. And so, this man is so valuable that people pay thousands and thousands of dollars because he's had so many successful hits and movies and things, and one of the biggest things he said that he took from hearing this was this: said he sat through hours and hours of amazing insights from this screenwriter, but the biggest thing he said if you're going to be a great storyteller, number one, here it is: No conflict, no story.
I just want the Lord to really bless me and give me a clear coast all the way from here to heaven. I don't want to encounter any giants, and I sure don't want to and why am I going? Why did we go through 2020? Boohoo. No conflict, no story. Epic movies demand epic conflicts. That's what makes it epic. For David, it was picking a fight with a giant. For Elijah it was picking a fight with 400 false prophets. No conflict, no story. For Benaiah it was chasing a lion. For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it was being thrown into a fiery furnace. But no conflict, no story. And God's gonna get glory out of the conflicts we've been through if we won't let the lions in the streets stop us. Come on. Take a praise break. Don't stay in the hole. Go to the land of Judah. Let me finish. God has not called us to be scaredy cats. He's called us to be lion chasers. I'm tired of beat-up Christians. Nobody's making light. The pain is real. The suffering is real. The death is real, but are we to just let the lion in the street kill everything that we know God has promised us? No, sir. No way. No conflict. No epic story.