Theodore Roosevelt was a force of nature and a formidable figure. He was full of vim and vigor, and his output in life would make the average head spin. An example of this drive and determination was evidenced on October 14, 1912, as Roosevelt was about to step into his car to take a drive to deliver a speech in Milwaukee. As he was entering the vehicle to leave for the auditorium, a man confronted him and shot him in the chest. As others immediately worked on how to rush him to the hospital, Roosevelt demanded that he be driven to his destination so that he might address the people. Upon arrival, he told the people he had been shot, and asked them to be quiet, begging their pardon for a shorter than usual speech. He then pulled out a blood-soaked manuscript from his jacket and proceeded to speak for ninety minutes! Talk about guts and gusto! When TR died in 1919, his youngest son cabled his brothers on Europe’s battlefields with the news: ‘The Lion is dead!”
Bold as a lion, that certainly was Theodore Roosevelt, and what he was, we should be! In Proverbs 28:1 the Bible says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.” I love that and am challenged by that. The wicked are scared to death - driven by a guilty conscience and paranoia about a forthcoming reckoning, they flee before God. This proverb recalls the covenant curses promised in Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Lev. 26:17, 36; Deut. 28:25; 32:30). By contrast, the righteous fear nothing in the fear of God; for when the fear of God is large, the fear of man is small (Prov. 1:7). The righteous are supported by a rearguard of goodness and mercy (Psalm 23:6); they are garrisoned by the peace of God (Phil. 4:6-7); they are served and shielded by a complement of angels (Psa. 91:11); and they are protected through the presence and power of the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ Himself (Rev. 5:5). God has not given the disciple of Jesus Christ a spirit of fear, but of power (2 Tim. 1:7). If you have a controlling spirit of fear, or anxiety, it didn’t come from God.
God’s people should not be defined by fear or driven by panic. The Christian faced with life’s challenges and crises should not act or react with the timidity of a church mouse, but with the boldness of a lion. Lives that are in union with the Lion of Judah are marked by boldness and bravery (Acts 4:13, 29, 31). This courage will also show up in the single person who chooses purity over promiscuity; the street preacher who doesn’t allow the fear of man to become a snare; the family dealing with terminal cancer; the missionary in a lonely outpost for the kingdom; the pastor taking incoming fire for his commitment to the gospel; the Christian politician facing mockery for taking a biblical stance on marriage and gender; the single parent struggling to raise a family; the senior saint battling with loneliness; and churches making no small plans.
There is an old Italian proverb that says: “Better to spend one day as a lion, than a hundred years as a sheep.” May God grant that we might live our days on earth boldly and bravely, attempting great things for God and expecting great things from God.