I recently read this article in Relevant Magazine and it’s really impacted me.  I keep re-reading it and thinking about all the things in my life that I want to change…

 

Let me make a new years prediction: your biggest regret at the end of 2007 won’t be the things you did that you wish you hadn’t.  Your biggest regret on Dec. 31, 2007 will be the things you didn’t do but wish you had.  I have had my fair share of action regrets – things we did that we wish we hadn’t.  I’ve said and done some stupid things that I wish I could unsay and undo.  Who has secretly wished that they could fly counter rotational around the earth at supersonic speeds and reverse time like Superman?  But I’m convinced that the deepest regrets at the end of our lives will be the risks not taken, the opportunities not seized and the dreams not pursued.

 

 

2 Samuel 23:20 highlights one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture, but it’s more than that.  It’s a microcosm on how God calls us to approach life.  It tells the story of Benaiah, who chased a lion down into a pit.  Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it. 

 

 

Scripture doesn’t tell us what Benaiah was doing or where he was going when he encountered this lion.  We don’t know Benaiah’s frame of mind, but Scripture does reveal his gut reaction.  And it was gutsy.  It ranks as one of the most improbable reactions recorded in Scripture.  When the image of a man-eating beast travels through the optical nerve and registers in the visual cortex, the brain has one over-arching message: Run away.

 

 

That is what normal people do, but lion chasers are wired differently.  They don’t see 500 pound problems.  They see God-ordained opportunities.

 

For most of us, finding ourselves in a pit with a lion on a snowy day would pose a substantial problem, but you’ve to admit something: I killed a lion in a pit on snowy day looks pretty impressive on your resume.  Not only did Benaiah land a job as David’s chief bodyguard, he climbed all the way up the military chain of command to become commander in chief of Israel’s army.  Benaiah was the second most powerful person in the kingdom of Israel, but his genealogy success can be traced all the way back to a life-and-death encounter with a lion.  It was fight or flight.  Benaiah was faced with a choice that would determine his destiny: run away or give chase.

 

 

When opportunity roars in this new year, you have a choice to make: run away or grab life by the tail.

 

 

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.  Set God-sized goals.  Pursue God-ordained passions.  Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.  Keep asking questions.  Keep making mistakes.  Keep seeking God.  Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.  Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.  Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.  Expand your horizons.  Accumulate experiences.  Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. 

 

Live like today is the first day and the last day of your life.  Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God.  Burn sinful bridges.  Blaze a new trail.  Criticize by creating.  Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks.  Don’t try to be who you’re not.  Be yourself.  Laugh at yourself.  Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.  And remember: if God is for us, who can be against us?

 

What if the life you really want and the future God wants for you are actually hiding in your biggest problem, worst failure or greatest fear?

 

 

Maybe it’s time to apply for your dream job, admit your addiction, reconcile the relationship, ask her out, take the exam, go on a missions trip, mentor someone, stop attending church and start serving, add a stamp to your passport, take a night class, start a business or write the manuscript.

 

 

When we don’t have the guts to step out in faith and chase lions, God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to him.  And the truth is this: The greatest regret at the end of our lives will be the lions we didn’t chase.

 

I’m convinced that many of us are one chase away from our dreams becoming reality.  I can’t promise it will be a short or an easy chase.  In fact, it will probably scare the living daylights out of you.  But where you end up in life really does trace back to how you react when you cross paths with a lion.

 

 

I don’t know what problems need to be reframed, fears need to be unlearned, risks need to be taken, or opportunities need to be seized.  But I do know this: Your choice to run away or give chase will determine your destiny.

 

 

It’s a new day.  It’s a new year

Embrace the opportunity.

 

 

Mark Batterson

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