Managing Your Lion (2 Kings 9-11)

So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel.  However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. (2 Kings 10:28-29)

Have you ever seen a lion on a leash?  A couple of years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Greenville Zoo in Greenville, South Carolina, and one of the highlights of the trip was watching an angry lion pace back and forth in front of a seemingly thin, glass wall.  Of course, little kids were pounding on the glass and putting their faces up to it, and the only thing I could imagine was the giant beast breaking out and devouring them.  Thankfully no such massacre took place, but I believe that if the lion were provoked enough, it might have done something dangerous.  I certainly wasn’t going to place my face near the glass.

Lions are wild beasts, and even though we make attempts to tame them, it’s only a matter of time until they return to their natural instincts: attack and kill.  Temptation and sin work much the same way.  If you try to manage your temptation in such a way that you think you actually control it, then it’s probably only a matter of time until it controls you.  A person who is addicted to shopping shouldn’t carry a wallet full of credit cards any more than a recovering alcoholic should hang out at the bar every night.

If you have a temptation, the best thing to do is to kill it.  You cannot manage your temptations; you will simply end up with your temptations managing you.

The problem with Jehu’s leadership was that he tried to manage temptations.  It’s true, he cleaned house for most of the temptations that brought Israel down, but he failed to remove everything.  The house-cleaning didn’t work, and the nation simply returned to its former sins.

The only way to truly manage your lion is to kill it.  Only then will you be setup for success as it comes to beating temptation.

Father, please keep me from believing that I can somehow manage my temptations and flirt with the things that cause me to sin.  Give me courage to rid my life of everything that has the potential to draw me away from You, and help me to find joy in doing so.