Please consider these things sincerely for a moment; what, to you, is worth fighting for? How are you equipped for your crusade? What’s holding you back?
I love the bowl season for college football. Teams from all over the country playing against foes outside of their usual schedule. Teams that play in smaller conferences going up against those from what are considered the “Power 5” conferences. Incredible individual performances from players who dig deep from within themselves and leave it all on the field for the love of their teammates, coaches and the legacy they hope to leave behind. And as all of the experts and followers analyze the matchups, there is usually at least one team that is underestimated and another that people seem to put a little too much stock into. But, as we like to say around my house, “Any given day…”
I’m reminded of the story of David and Goliath. You know the one. It’s the story of the underdog. It’s the story of the well placed rock. I don’t know how many times you’ve looked at this story since someone read it to you while you were still young enough to not have to go to “big people church”, but I hope you’ll allow me to give you the Cliff Notes. You can find this passage in the 17th chapter of 1st Samuel.
When David, a shepherd boy, was sent by his father to take grain, cheese and bread to his brothers at the army camp he found someone to watch his sheep and then obeyed his father’s instructions. As he arrived at the camp, the Israelite soldiers were taking their places and shouting their battle cry against the Philistines. David went to the front lines to check on his brothers but as he got there a giant of nearly ten feet tall came out and began to spit insults at the Israelites and God. Goliath frightened the soldiers to the point that they turned on their heels and fled.
Young David, on the other hand, was livid with Goliath’s giant ego. In verse 26 he asks, “Who does that worthless Philistine think he is? He’s making fun of the army of the living God!”
Remember the first question I asked you at the top of the page? I’m sure the football players going into their last football games would say that it’s the people you love, your teammates, who are worth fighting for. Does your answer align with theirs? Is someone or something you love worth fighting for more than that of your own personal gain? If so, that is in total contrast to the boasting pride of Goliath. He fought for many years only to further his reputation and bask in the glory of his victories. Though he represented the Philistines, he was most interested in being a military hero and being seen as a champion. David wanted to fight not for his own gain, but to defend the name of the living God.
Are you willing to fight for the people you love? How about fighting for our merciful loving God? What are some of the things that make it tempting to be passive?
At times we feel inadequate. Often that’s because we put too much stock in what people think of us. People can be mean and say ugly and belittling things. How often do we let their cruelty defeat us? It’s even more disheartening when poison is spewed from family or friends. David had to listen to it even from his own brother in verse 28, “What are you doing here, anyway? Who’s taking care of that scrawny flock of sheep out in the desert? You spoiled brat! You came here just to watch the fighting, didn’t you?” It would’ve been easy for David to hang his head amidst the cut downs and accusations, but he was drawing his strength from a power much greater than his own.
Do you ever find yourself giving all the effort you’ve got only to be crippled by someone telling you that you’re incapable? You simply can’t do it because you can’t possibly understand? Maybe they say you are too young or too old, too inexperienced or past your prime. David had to reject such notions in verses 32 and 33 when he was approached by Saul. “Master,” said David, “don’t give up hope. I’m ready to go and fight this Philistine.” Saul answered David, “You can’t go and fight this Philistine. You’re too young and inexperienced—and he’s been at this fighting business since before you were born.” Like Saul, people can be so quick to make pretentious assumptions when they have no idea about the ways God has equipped you for His call on your life.
David goes on to confidently explain to Saul about the giants he’s already defeated in life, and in verse 37 he says, “GOD, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.” So, Saul agrees to give David a shot at it. God has a proven track record of helping you face down many giants in your past. Does this give you comfort and confidence that you will have help in confronting whatever lies ahead of you?
It baffles me how people can insist on you living out YOUR call THEIR way. They will dress you in their own ideas and attempt to equip you with their opinion of what is best. The reason that doesn’t work is because God has equipped us each uniquely and individually. We can’t reach our potential by trying to be someone we’re not. Saul had a soldier’s armor put onto David, but it was so bulky that the shepherd boy could barely move! I admire David for not doing what many of us do by trying to settle for what doesn’t fit and push through anyway. He shucked off all that had been thrust onto him and picked up his shepherd’s stick and his sling. After selecting five smooth stones from the brook he set off to defend God and His people.
This is where it gets good! This is where the glory of God is revealed! David approached Goliath and was greeted with a battery of degrading ridicule. David’s courage was strong with his reliance on the Lord Almighty as is evident in his reply to the giant in verses 45-47. “You come at me with sword and spear and battle-ax. I come at you in the name of the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel’s troops, whom you curse and mock. This very day God is handing you over to me. I’m about to kill you, cut off your head, and serve up your body and the bodies of your Philistine buddies to the crows and coyotes. The whole earth will know that Israel has a REAL God. And everyone gathered here will learn that God doesn’t save by means of sword or spear. The battle belongs to God—he’s handing you to us on a platter!” HOLY MOSES!!! If that doesn’t get you fired up, good people, you may need to check your pulse! David had such faith in God that he stood up to enormous adversity, and when it was all said and done David had accomplished exactly what he proclaimed he would do. When have you had the kind of faith that allows you to speak boldly against that which aims to defeat you? When have you recognized the power in the name of Jesus Christ and spoke it out loud in courageous defiance?
Goliath was depending on his own strength for victory. David was empowered by the strength of God!
There are many interesting and relatable people in this story. So who are you? Are you Goliath, depending on your own strength to accomplish things for your own glory? Are you David’s brothers, critical of others and finding reasons to tell them how impossible it will be for them to succeed? Are you Saul, encouraging others in their battles so long as they do it your way? Or are you David, the trusting follower of God who with God’s help is looking to defend his flock, his people and his God from the wolves, lions, bears and giants? Have you identified the people and things in your life that are worth fighting for, or are you like the Israelites, who were intimidated by the size of the adversary and backed away?
God has been equipping you throughout your life.
James 1:2-5 says, “My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.”
Whether through love, service or boldness, God is calling us to act. Dig deep and leave it all on the field; for your coach, your teammates, and the legacy you leave for those who will be in the game after you. Be God’s champions! Find victories for God’s glory through the strength and peace only God can provide. What’s worth it to you? You are worth it to God.
Tate Monroe, Director of Discipleship and Development