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More Than a Mane

By Laurie Cervantez


God painted me gold, destined me to reign as king of beasts, and crowned me with a massive mane. He made me muscular and strong, planted courage in my heart, and placed me at the top of the food chain.

The Word of God describes me this way: “The lion, which is mightiest among beasts and turns not back before any” (Proverbs 30:30 NKJV). Nothing like that is written in Scripture about the goat, the ox, or the bear. God created me to be in a league of my own.

I am majestic in form and unique in my royal lifestyle. Of all the animals, God chose me to represent specific and significant characteristics. The character traits God placed in me are impressive. I am mighty, fearless, and full of justice. I am a mighty conqueror! You should hear me roar!

I must admit I do have some flaws in my dominant personality. For example, I am sometimes arrogant and proud. I also have a bad habit of biting and devouring. Oh well, what can I say? Nobody’s perfect.


I don’t like to focus on my negative traits. I’d rather emphasize my God-given strengths. After all, wasn’t a lion chosen to represent “The Christ!” And who hasn’t heard about the “Lion of Judah!” I would say this makes me one very special fellow, but that would be bragging! Oops! There’s my pride trying to trip me up again.

Pride is also the word used to describe my family unit—unique among cats and consisting of one to several males, a group of related females, and all of their cubs. It’s kind of like our own private club, very exclusive, and sometimes reaching 40 members. Membership does have its privileges, including hunting, dining, sunbathing, and even an on-site daycare. All this is on our very own prime piece of real estate. Benefits aside, we lions love togetherness and have a remarkable ability to share. We have discovered the whole extended family thing really works out quite well for us.

Not every lion is fortunate enough to live in the comfort and convenience of a pride. Around three years of age, when adolescent males begin looking for mates, they are forced out of their birth pride. They enter a nomadic lifestyle, wandering wherever their feet take them.


Living the life of a bachelor isn’t very fulfilling. Sure, hanging out with the guys is cool and adventurous, but the safety and security of the pride is longed for. The family buffet line that once existed is now closed, and “serve yourself” has taken on a whole new meaning. Trying times come over the next few years. The brave young lion grows in maturity and strength. In time, he becomes bold enough to challenge another male for the big prize—his pride and territory.

For me personally, my star is on the horizon. I have landed a position as the top cat in a very promising pride. My job, as lion and leader of the pride, is to protect my family, mark our territory with my scent, and patrol regularly for rival trespassers like the hyena, leopard, cheetah, and wandering nomadic lions. Unwelcome visitors sometimes need a little reminder of who’s the boss, and I’m just the one to let them know I am the king here. I can bellow a roar that will send shivers up the spine of the most brazen trespasser, even if he is miles away. If my roar doesn’t send them packing, one peek at my muscular physique surely will. I am a powerhouse of strength and am fiercely protective of my family and fortune. Severe punishment comes to those foolish enough to enter my domain.

While I reign over the pride, I will live in the lap of luxury. I sleep up to 20 hours a day and have my dinner delivered to me. As a proven conqueror, I have earned a little self-indulgence. Nonetheless, I know I must always keep a vigilant eye over my family and territory because there is always a prowling nomad lurking in the shadows, seeking to overthrow my perfectly happy kingdom.

Maintaining ownership of the pride means enduring challenges from younger, stronger males and battling to defend my throne. My mane isn’t just to impress the ladies. It’s also there to protect my neck from my enemy’s razor sharp claws and lethal four-inch canine teeth. I’ll only reign about two years, sometimes longer if I have a band of brothers by my side. There is strength in numbers. Nonetheless, my time as leader over the pride will end either by injury, eviction, and returning to my nomadic ways of fending for myself and facing starvation or by losing in a dual to the death.

Life as a Lioness

Unlike my life of adventure and dealing with the unknown, the life of my queen, the lioness, is predictable. She is born into a warm, loving family, and in most cases, she will remain safe in the arms of her pride and the security of her territory. Her role is to birth and rear our cubs, to hunt, and to educate our young. She will do so instinctively. Fortunately for her, she won’t have to do these things alone, as I have many queens, from a youthful three-year-old lioness to an older fifteen-year-old. They all work together, sharing responsibilities for the common good of the pride, and are even willing to nurse another’s cub. Everyone seems to get along just fine unless there’s a shortage of food. Then a catfight might break out!


There are occasions when a girl needs a little peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the pride. Birthing cubs is such a time. After a three and one-half month pregnancy, the lioness births a litter of blind and totally helpless cubs, usually two to three. The mother is one very busy gal—feeding, cleaning, and routinely moving the cubs to a new den location to keep them safely out of reach of hungry predators. She leaves her babies only to hunt for food.

After one week, little sets of peering eyes open to see the world, and a new challenge begins when the cubs are a few weeks old and take their first steps.

Mama roars, “Get back here, you!”

The newborns have spots on their coats that help them blend into their surroundings. Like kittens, they communicate with a meow. When the babies are six weeks old, the lioness will take them to the pride, where the cubs will experience their first steak, and the lioness will receive some much needed help watching the curious cubs.

Teaching is done through play, and class is now in session. The lioness teaches her offspring beginning, intermediate, and advanced hunting skills through moves like the stalk, the pounce, and one-on-one wrestling. Education and training are vital for survival. While the female cubs remain with the pride, the males will eventually be forced out, but the lioness has prepared them well for life on their own. And then she must prepare for a new litter of cubs.

Not only is the lioness a great mother, but she’s also an excellent provider. She’s a modern day working mom—taking care of a busy household and managing to drag home the bacon in the form of a zebra, wildebeest, or even a nice juicy buffalo for an evening or early morning meal. It’s true—she does do most of the hunting, but it’s just because she is “purr”fectly built for the task.

She doesn’t sport a large tousled mane, which I must admit tends to give a fellow away. She is much more compact, but extremely powerful, and has the edge as a huntress. God equipped her with excellent hearing, an acute sense of smell, and an ability to see especially well in the dark because that’s when we hunt the most. Our eyesight is six times better than human beings.

God gave us whiskers with special nerve endings to sense what we don’t see. He blessed us with a tail that helps us balance while we’re on the move and cushiony pads on our paws that allow us to stalk our prey very quietly—like a pair of built-in sneakers. I don’t mean to brag, but we are the perfectly built predator.

The pride’s brides will cooperate as a team when it comes to hunting. They strategize a plan, assume positions, and put years of crouching, stalking, and freezing practice into action. Once an attack is launched, the goal is to chase unsuspecting prey straight into a trap of hiding pride members. With one powerful pounce and pure muscle strength, all of us lions and lionesses can bring down an animal three times our size.

Lion Share

Our species can reach an impressive speed of 35 miles per hour, but only for short distances. Therefore, the element of surprise is the key ingredient of a perfect ambush. If things go well, the dinner bell will soon be ringing and we can gorge our greedy little selves to our heart’s content, as we have a ravenous appetite. It’s just too bad that after all that hard work on the hunt, the girls will have to wait second in line to get a bite to eat, since the big fellow always insists on tearing and devouring his share first. We males always get our “lion share” of the meal.

Lion Cub

Unfortunately, we only catch about 25 percent of our intended meals. Sometimes it is necessary to revert to “Plan B.” We rob, swipe, and snatch any food we find available. Ripping off a rump roast is quite easy when you consider the dinner invitation often comes from hysterical hyenas and bewildered buzzards that can’t help but advertise their find by making a production of their presence. If an opportunity comes to steal a meal, we’re there! Not my finest dining hour, but isn’t fast food fabulous?

Oh my, I guess I’ve exposed yet another undesirable lion trait. I beg your pardon. After all, it’s not as if we have the luxury of lying around in a designer collar, answering to the name “Whiskers,” and waiting for the tuna truck to arrive. We have to eat. It’s survival of the fittest in my neck of the woods.  We never know where our next meal is coming from. It may be some time before you find me grazing next to the ox as prophesied in the book of Isaiah. So until I get a hankering to chew on a little straw, I’ll snatch whatever I can get my paws on. “And the lion will eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 11:7 NIV).

Be Alert

As you can see, some of the traits in my treasure chest are tarnished and flawed. These too serve a purpose in revealing how the devil can be like the lion in his attempt to destroy people’s lives.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8 NIV)

As for my most sparkling traits, I can say I am fit for a king with my unique royal lifestyle and attire. No suit of stripes or spots for me. I require a wrapping of gold and a face perfectly sculpted into that magnificent planet—the sun, which provides light to the world but also has the ability to scorch, burn, and even incinerate. I am mighty. Respect me for my power.  Love me for my beauty and know me for my characteristics. 



Statistical Averages

Edited by Christian Editing Services


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