- a ferocious quality or state; savage fierceness.
The term “savage fierceness,” captures something that anyone who prays, “Lord give me this city,” must have. It’s interesting that it took hundreds of years for the nation of Israel to “possess” the city of Jerusalem. Centuries after God’s promise to Joshua, David conquered Jerusalem with the same kind of savage fierceness that he employed on Goliath. It was David’s ferocity for God’s honor that made him crazy enough to take on the giant. We see this same ferocity in his worship and in his determination to take possession of the full extent of God’s promised land. Ferocity pushes passion to its fullest extent, its furthest extreme.
The term ferocity is rarely, if ever used, in a Christian context. It is a frightening word in a world that is embroiled in brutal religious extremism. This begs the question, is non-violent religious extremism possible? I’m fascinated by the way God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush. It was a fire that didn’t destroy. Similarly, Jesus described himself as “the light of the world.” So, standing in front of a rag tag crowd of impoverished and oppressed Israelites was one who radiated more fire power than all the suns that ever shone, yet nobody was destroyed. Christ more radically declared the same glorious title over us. What an incredible gift Christ has given us to be like Him, “the light of the world” and “flames of fire” that don’t destroy.
Debatably, Christ’s greatest act of power was forgiveness. His intercession for his torturers may have been the most ferocious act of love in history. So, as people of the Christ we may be the only ones capable of living out the full expression of ferocity without devolving into destroyers. This is a privilege and a balance we should embrace. We can love with abandon but not hate when we are attacked and betrayed. We can live with explosive hope, but not crumble when hope is deferred. We can keep giving everything even as we are despitefully used and taken advantage of. It may well be that only ferocious, Davidic, “love of Christ compelled” leaders will have the passion and endurance necessary to transform cities.
Mat_11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.