The Month of March
by Patricia Knight
The month of March is often described as “coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb,” frequently applicable in the Northeast area of the country where I live. As February continues its hold on winter, March originates with raw winds and significant snow cover. Soon, milder temperatures precipitate melting snow, ushering in gentler weather. By the end of March, there is hope of spring, with its array of new growth and vibrant colors.
The above metaphor compares the aggressive, domineering prowess of the lion to the submissive, docile lamb. Due to its size and ferociousness, the lion has earned its title, king of the jungle. Scripture, however, is replete with examples of the gentle, compliant lamb.
In Old Testament times, lambs were frequently used for clothing, food, and as an animal sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people. A sacrificial lamb had to be perfect, without blemish or defect. In the New Testament, Jesus was named the Lamb of God when he willingly sacrificed His one perfect life for the salvation of all mankind, eliminating the need for an atoning animal sacrifice ever again.
Meek was a term associated with Jesus. Weak is not synonymous with meek—far from it! Jesus was patient and kind, humbly acknowledging the goodness and grace of God and betraying no arrogance toward others. “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you,” (2 Corinthians 10:1) is an introduction used by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian people, an indication of his own affectionate desire to mirror Jesus’ qualities.
We are commanded to “be imitators of God, and live a life of love” (Ephesians 5:1). For us to emulate Christ, we must live a humble, unpretentious lifestyle. Assuming no attention for ourselves, we live to glorify and serve God, the priority Jesus expressed during His entire life on earth. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
We are further commanded to avoid arrogance, to assume modesty and humility. It has been explained that once a person declares his humility, he is no longer humble! Humility involves our attitude and performance in life, a perpetual challenge for each of us. “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (2 Peter 5:5).
Photo credit: “Panthera leoP1040181” by Winfried Bruenken. Wikimedia Commons
The lion shows no mercy. With arrogance it stalks and attacks its victim, tearing the flesh and gorging on the meal. The lion is large and loud, throwing its weight around to its full advantage. Gentle ways are unknown to the species. In contrast, the lamb peacefully grazes in the meadow, unaware of danger and defenseless against attack. The shepherd must lead his sheep and their lambs, providing them with protection and food. Jesus is the True Shepherd, who gathers His lambs (believers) “and carries them close to His heart” (Isaiah 40:11), just as any shepherd would comfort the vulnerable lambs in his care.
The extreme antithesis between the lion and the lamb is adequate for explaining seasonal changes, but for our lifestyle it is preferable to be aligned with the character traits of the Lamb of God, Savior of the world!