I was recently reading through 1 Samuel and stumbled upon the familiar story of David vs. Goliath (Ch. 17). Most people use this story to draw inspiration in the face of a difficult situation or uncertain circumstances. However, as I read the story again a question came to mind: How was David able to defeat Goliath when season warriors retreated at the site of the Philistine Champion?
This question came to mind for several reasons:
1. David had no prior military experience before going to battlefield that day.
2. He had no credible life experience that would seemingly prepare him for such an event.
3. David is thought to have been a young teenager when he went to face Goliath.
4. The best warriors of the day were terrified of Goliath and fled at the sight of him.
5. David exuded an extreme confidence in his ability to defeat Goliath upon his arrival.
As I explored the text, I discovered 5 reasons David was able to defeat Goliath in spite of the chaos surrounding him...
1. He Looked Past Discouragement.
As soon as David arrived to the battlefield, his first encounter was seeing the Israelite army retreating at the sight of Goliath (v.24). He immediately asks why people are retreating and soon afterwards asks what the price is for the man who will defeat Goliath. His brothers catch wind of David's presence and begin to ridicule him and call him arrogant and evil hearted (v. 28). More than that, He is brought before Saul, the leader of the Israelite Army, who tells David "You can't go fight this Philistine" (v. 33). Everyone that David encountered, everything that He saw was a put down, but David carried on anyways, he went into battle, won the victory.
2. He Trusted His Training.
Although David had no credible military experience or training prior to this day, He had much experience as a shepherd. As a shepherd, he looked over the sheep and other livestock that his family owned and protected them from attacks from thieves and wild animals. Interestingly enough, David felt as if this prepared Him to go and face the Philistine Champion as he responded to Saul's put down this way... "Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them" (v. 34-36). What confidence David displayed in this encounter. You see, David knew he wasn't trained in the ways of the military, but he knew that he was prepared for this moment. In the face of life and death situations in the past, he rose up and killed lions and bears with little more than his bare hands. He risked his life for a little sheep, and had come out victorious. He didn't doubt his preparation, but instead trusted in these situations. He understood that everything that had happened in his life up to this moment had prepared Him for the opportunity that was before him.
3. He Trusted His Lord.
More importantly than the above mentioned points, David had a supreme confidence in the Lord. David claimed that Goliath would be like the lions and bears that he had slayed because he had insulted his God (v. 36). More than that, he boldly stated "The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine," (v. 37). David found comfort in the fact that the Lord had been faithful to deliver Him from difficult circumstances in the past. David understood that "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31) More than understanding all of that, he drew his confidence and courage from the fact that the Lord was on his side. And this was a game changer, it convinced the commander of the Army to send Him into battle. It allowed David to recognize that the source of victory was not contingent upon His performance, but was wrapped up in the Power of The Lord. In Christ and Christ alone was David able to defeat Goliath, and David understood and trusted in that.
4. He Used what He Had.
Once Saul heard how the Lord had delivered David in the past, he felt confident in sending David out to face Goliath. However, the same people who were discouraging David before were now encouraging him to go into battle in a particular way. The King gave David his armor, sword, and military clothes. Despite the best military equipment the Israelite army had, David was unable to walk and maneuver in the equipment (v. 38-39). Instead of going into battle with weapons and gear he couldn't/didn't know how to use, David went to face Goliath with a staff, slingshot, and 5 stones (v.40). The same gear that He would have been using defending to animals that he was shepherding. He simply went into battle with what he had.
So many times in life, when faced with great opportunity or adversity we feel as if we are not adequately prepared for the moment. We begin to seek advanced tactics or tools that we have no credible experience using, instead of simply trusting what we have. I genuinely believe that the Lord has gifted and exposed us all with what we need to overcome adversity and thrive in situations. The question then becomes, will we use what he has gifted us with? You see David wasn't great with a sword, but was phenomenal with a slingshot! Although the sword may have made more sense to most, David was gifted with accuracy and power with a slingshot. And it most likely made the difference in victory and defeat. Think about how this story might have turned out if David went to fight in clothes and weapons that he was unable to walk in...
5. He Confidently Took Action.
David didn't simply talk about the battle, he went into battle. Many people in life talk a big game, but David went out and did all that he talked about. He ran out to face the giant, and ultimately came back victorious; the most unlikely of upsets (v. 46,48,51). You see, nothing great ever happens without courageous people taking a bold step of faith. He didn't allow discouragement to stop him, he didn't allow his inexperience to make him doubt, he didn't leave God on the sideline, he used simply what he had, and with all of that he went out and WON.
Considering all of that, are you prepared to face and slay the Goliaths in your life? It won't be easy, but we have God on our side if we have that relationship with Him. He already knows what we are going through, nothing in our lives is a surprise to God. We simply have to let go of ourselves and allow God to take control (John 3:30).
Are you willing to:
-Look Past Discouragement
-Trust your Training
-Trust the Lord
-Use what You Have
-Confidently Take Action
Is so, you are ready to slay your Goliaths.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
" Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something
done for the Lord and not for men."
As believers in Christ there is no room in our lives for mediocrity. We are called to be more than average in everything that we do. This doesn't mean that we will be the best at every task; but our attitudes, work ethic, and commitment levels will be much higher than that of those around us. Why? Because the motivation behind everything that we do, is to please our Father in Heaven.
Reflecting on the verse about, it starts with the all encompassing word "Whatever." That means everything that we do in our daily lives: homework, emails, relationships, work, school, chores, phone calls, parenting, dating, games, etc. More than just accomplishing these tasks, we are to go about them with an enthusiastic mindset. Everyone has heard the old phrase "Attitude is Everything," according to this verse this is true. Most people have no difficulties being enthusiastic about the exciting things in life or when the stakes are high. However, the medial tasks are where we struggle to bring the same vigor and passion. We drop our standards from EXCELLENCE to Mediocrity.
But as believers, we are to be different. In everything that we do we are to do it enthusiastically because we are not merely doing it for ourselves, boss, authority figure, etc., but for the Lord. It is an understanding that he has put us in each situation to be a witness for Him. That in everything that we do in word or in deed, we do it for the Glory of God (Col. 3:23). In short, we are to be EXCELLENT.
The next time you think about just getting by, I pray that you understand that everything that you do is a reflection of the one that you serve. As followers of Christ, we are to be an example to others on a daily basis. I would interject that it goes much further than our morals, words, or devotion. People can see how much we Love the Lord by our actions and how we go about completing our daily tasks. My hope is that we do everything "enthusiastically as something done for the Lord." That we are EXCELLENT in EVERYTHING that we do.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
If asked if your life was a contradiction, most people would be highly offended. This is because we feel that we are better than we really are. We do not want to look at our flaws, we only want to focus and acknowledge the things that we do well. Few look in the mirror to see who and what they really are, and those that do many times just look and choose to ignore what they see. This latter has been true of my life. I have looked in that mirror and have ignored what I have seen, a contradiction. A contradiction that is at the core of what I believe and who I say that I am. I say that I have given my life to Christ, that I am completely His, that I will go wherever he takes me, and do whatever he asks me to do. The mirror shows something different. It shows a man holding onto His will, ignoring the task at hand, disobediently following Christ hoping that what His Word says is not true. Believing that it was written for just a few fanatics but definitely not for me, wrong.
Matthew 4: 21-22
"Going on from there, He saw two other brothers,
James son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending
their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and
their father and follow Him."
The earliest disciples gave up everything that they had and knew to follow the Lord Jesus. All that these men knew was fishing, when Jesus came and asked them to follow Him there were working on their tackle. Guess what they did? They left it all behind to follow the Lord Jesus. These guys had no clue what they were getting into, no clue as to where they were going, or what they would be doing. The one thing that they did have was faith. What does this mean for us? I want you to think about what you have left behind to follow Jesus. The same thing that Jesus asks of the disciples here is what he asks of us. Have we truly let go of the things that He has individually asks us to let go of? Look at Matthew 19:16-22. God asks this rich guys to sell his riches and come and follow the Lord, to which this guy walks away saddened because he loved these riches more than anything. It was these same riches that kept this guy from having a meaningful relationship with the Lord Jesus that would have saved his life. Are there things, possessions, attitudes that God has asked to get rid of in order to come and follow Him?
You see, God does not want people to half-heartedly serve Him. He wants people who are all in for Him, people who forsake it all for Himself and His Gospel. Look at Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord! will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven." Everyone can say Lord, Lord and move on but this is not what the Lord demands. He demands that we do His will which can be found in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8. His will is that we take Him and His Gospel and tell others. It is not a suggestion or something that we should try to do occasionally. It is to be what drives us, should be what we are about, it should be what we do. The disciples left all that they had and knew to do this. Paul, the same way. Show me an example in the Bible of a person who half-heartedly served and was accepted by the Lord, I have not seen an example yet.
Luke 9:61-62 "Another also said, I will follow You, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to those at my house. But Jesus said to him, no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." He demands it all, he becomes our priority. You know think about what the disciple and Jesus did, they went around teaching and preaching the Gospel everywhere. Yet, they were never without the things that they needed. They always had a place to stay, food to eat, and people to witness too. Jesus feed five-thousand people with a few pieces of fish and bread. Really puts validity to Matthew 6:33. When you really get down to the nuts and bolts of it all, Jesus is simply asking us to do exactly what he did. He gave everything for us in order that we would give it all right back to Him. If Jesus had just half-heartedly lived life and not went to the cross what would have happened to you and me? If he had decided to sin instead of remain pure what would have happened? I do not think that is something that we want to think about. Instead he remained pure and holy and took on the cross for you and for me 2 Corinthians 5:21 "He became who knew no sin so that we might become His righteousness." He did it for you and me, and all He asks that we accept Him as our savior and live our lives as a living sacrifice for Him. To be people that are transformed by Him and His love. To be people who care more about the dying world around us than ourselves. To take His Gospel and change lives for Him. People that Give Him Glory in everything that we do. Do we?
That's the contradiction that I am speaking of. Are you and me living in such a way? Speaking for myself the answer is no. Consider the following facts. There are seven Billion people alive on planet earth today, and only two billion of these people profess Christianity. This means that about 70% of the earths population is without Christ Jesus in their heart, Hell-Bound. When was the last time you shared your faith? When was the last time that you told someone about Christ? Approximately 30,000+ children die each day from starvation and preventable disease. While they are starving we are looking for the next thing to waste our money on. Live lives full of gluttony. 30,000 children die each day, let that sink in. What are we doing? Just sitting around ignoring this fact, or being proactive? There are about 3 million homeless people living in our nation today. What are we doing for these people? Are we feeding, housing, and clothing these people or simply driving by? These are just a few examples of things that we should and are called to do and are not. The challenge for myself and maybe yourself is to quit ignoring what I know the Word of God says. The literally become His hands and feet by living a life that is completely abandoned to the cause of the Gospel. To let go of the temporary and start focusing on the eternal. To let go of myself and hold onto God. To take up my cross and truly start following the Lord Jesus....
Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord! will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven."
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Matthew 28: 18-20
“All Authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Go, therefore, and make disciple of all nations, baptizing them in the name
Of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe
Everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always,
to the end of the age.
The Great Commission was the last and arguably the most important words that Jesus spoke to His disciples before ascending into Heaven. He basically said look fellas; I have been with you and you with Me. You know what I am about, you have seen what I have done, and you know that I save. So go and tell the world about Me. Teach them, disciple them, baptize them just like I did to you. And know that you’re not doing this alone; I will be with you every step of the way. Not only was Jesus speaking these words to His disciples, He was speaking them to us if we believe and follow Him.
The rest of the commission is summed up with one simple word, Go. Jesus did not say wait until you feel comfortable. He did not say wait four years and then Go. He simply said Go. Bing defines the word Go as “to move toward a person or place with the intention of doing something specific.” And that is exactly what Jesus commanded these guys to do. The place, “all nations,” all nations is where you are now, where you will be in five years. Its Adamsville and Africa, Clarksville and Cambodia, America and Asia. He does confine the area we are to take the Gospel, he says all nations. And he gets specific with what we are to do, he specifically says “make disciple of all nations, baptizing them in the name Of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” Jesus says just tell them about Me. Teach them about Me, bring Me into their lives in the same way that I came into your lives and allow Me to change them. You know the beauty of Jesus’s ministry was that spent so much time in the disciples life doing the same things that He commissioned them and us to do. And that was to make disciples. Jesus took 12 ordinary men and totally changed and transformed their lives, and all He asks us to do is be the vessels that allow Him to do that now. Because the Bible says in Romans 10:14 “…And how can they believe without hearing about Him?...” We are to be the vessel that brings the Good News of the Gospel and Jesus to these ears.
Jesus ends this commission in a way that should encourage us. He you are not alone while you do this, I am right by your side. “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Although hardships, persecution, heartache, and pain may come your way because of Me, I am right beside you. I am here with you. How do you think Paul found joy in Prison? It was not because he loved jail, but it was because He knew he had Jesus. Or what of Peter and John when they were told they could not Preach the gospel anymore, did the stop? No, they continued on because they knew that had Jesus, and he meant more to them than anything the rules of that time could do. He is right beside us every step of the way, Do we embrace that?
We live in a society today in which the words of the Bible are sometimes looked upon as a book of great suggestions or recommendations. But friends nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that it is time for us to wake up and see exactly what they Bible has to say, and more than that DO IT. We have all heard of the Great Commission if you have been around the Church for any amount of time. But do we live it, are we totally abandoned to its cause? If we are great let’s keep it up. But if not what does that say about us? Forgive me for my bluntness but I believe that it says we have no respect or fear for the One who has all of eternity in His hands. It says we are more important that He is. But the good news is, it’s not too late. Ask for forgiveness and move on. And “Go, therefore, and make disciple of all nations, baptizing them in the name Of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.”
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Many times in life we find ourselves in situations where we simply just do not understand why things are happening. Why do people die? Why did I lose my job? Why did I have this car wreck today? Why me? I feel that in every situation all things work together for those who love God. It’s Biblical (Romans 8:28). I also believe that if God is on our side and that He has things willed for us, and we believe them that nothing can ever stop or stand against us. All we have to do is lean on God and His understanding to bring us through these times and situations. Look up unto Him for His will and direction and will for our lives.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
What does trusting in the Lord with all of our hearts look like? It looks like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego getting thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down. Daniel refusing to pray and being thrown into the lion’s den. David walking out to face Goliath. All of these people trusted that God would be with them, that He had their best interest in mind. They took a step of faith, and despite unthinkable odds each came out alright. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego walked out of the fiery pit alive. Daniel was not harmed at all by the lions. And David killed a giant with a single stone. They each took a leap of faith, completely trusted in God and His understanding of things.
When someone tells us that we should not lean on our own understanding we look at them like they are crazy. However, I believe that God knows best. Why should we not lean on our own understandings? Because we only look at the temporary, we cannot see the future, and many times do not remember the past. But God does. He was, and is, and forever will be. He knows the plans that he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He understands everything that he has for us and we should trust in that. He did not create us to fail, to be miserable, and to do nothing. He created us to lean on Him and His understanding so that He can guide us through everything, the good and the bad.
For God to guide us we have to allow ourselves to be guided. “In all your ways acknowledge Him…” Not in some of your ways, or most of your ways but in all of your ways. Many times I believe that we all choose to keep part of our lives to ourselves instead of fully submitting completely to God. In these times we wonder why things are going bad. We lose sight of the big picture of God and who He is. The Bible states many times that we are to look up and focus on God. In the Sermon on the Mount is says to “Seek first the kingdom of God…” Do we really seek first the kingdom of God? I believe that if we really did things would be completely different. I believe that we would be so heavenly minded that the world would see Jesus for who he really is. We no longer will be hypocrites walking around without feelings of guilt and self-worthlessness. We will walk around displaying the love of the Savior who gave His life to save us from our sins. And when the world sees that…. Look out.
You know when we acknowledge God with our whole lives, “He directs our paths.” He does not say your own your own Josh, do it yourself. He says follow me, do as I do, let my Holy Spirit guide you. When we fully submit to God, things become clear to us. When doubt and chaos arise our faith prevails. We stay on the narrow path of faith instead of looming through the wide gate of sin. We allow God our Shepherd king to herd us to where He would have us to be… His Will.
God does not want us to wander through life wondering what in the world are we doing. He wants to reveal himself to us. He wants us to go through life with a purpose. That purpose is to give Him honor and glory in all that we do. It is to seek him with all of our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13). It is to tell others about Him. It is to go into all of the world teaching others about Christ and baptizing them in His name (Matthew 28: 19-20). Are you willing to lean on Him?