Chasing the lion

Do you face fears or run away from them? Author and pastor Mark Batterson explains the scriptural basis and inspiration for his challenging philosophy on leadership and personal growth.

Mark Batterson

When the image of a man-eating beast travels through the optic nerve and into the visual cortex, the brain relays an urgent message to the body: Run!

But lion-chasers aren’t wired that way. They don’t run away from what they’re afraid of—they run toward the roar. They don’t see a 500-pound problem; they seize opportunity by the mane and don’t let go.

Buried in 2 Samuel 23:20 is one of the most counterintuitive acts of courage in all of Scripture: “There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it” (NLT). This verse is little more than a biblical byline, but it has become the storyline of my life. My life’s motto is encapsulated in its message—”Chase the lion.”

Scripture doesn’t explain what Benaiah was doing or where he was going when he crossed paths with the lion. We don’t know the time of day or his frame of mind. But Scripture does reveal his gut reaction—and it was gutsy. Benaiah chased the lion, and that one decision changed his destiny.

Are you running away from what you fear? Or are you running toward the roar?

Benaiah went on to become King David’s bodyguard and, eventually, commander-in-chief of Israel’s army under King Solomon. But the genealogy of success traces back to a fight-or-flight moment. One decision altered his destiny.

Not much has changed in 3,000 years. You can run away from what you’re afraid of, but you’ll be running the rest of your life. So, let me offer you a challenge in the form of The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto:

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

Run to the roar.

Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-given passions.

Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.

Stop pointing out problems. Become part of the solution.

Stop repeating the past. Start creating the future.

Face your fears. Fight for your dreams.

Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go!

Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.

Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.

Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.

Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.

Dare to fail. Dare to be different.

Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

Prayer Points

  • Are there any 500-pound lions you need to chase?
  • What fears do you need to face?
  • What sinful bridges need to be burned? What new trails need to be blazed?

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

serves as the senior pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., and is the author of more than 15 books on ministry, discipleship and Christian living.
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