Thursday, July 7, 2016

3 SIMPLE STEPS TO VICTORY: We Could Miss if Not Careful




Impressive Story: Even if we don't believe the story of David and Goliath, as a true story, I mean, we still have to respect the story itself. I believe it as true, but I do not insist everyone else do so, just because I do. 

Tough Guy: We have to admit, the little shepherd boy sure packed a punch. He must have had some kind of swag as he walked up to the front lines just daring somebody to mess with him. He was probably a bully. He probably had a reputation for picking on all the smaller shepherd boys, for pushing his brothers around and for breaking the heads off the dolls of his sisters. I'm sure he dated all the popular girls and drove a muscle car. 

The Real Story: Truth is, that is not the story at all. The story tells us that David was young and likely smaller than his brothers. He was not considered worthy of battle armor or a position at the front. He had an important job, but not one that assumed he belonged in war. What a terrible assumption, in high insight. 

Perspective: We know he saw the other army, he heard them talking smack and he decided it was just wrong. He knew his people were favored by God and felt loyal to their destiny. The big guy they sent out to challenge God's army was just that, a guy. David had already fought wild beasts and won. This was just a dude, a big dude, but a man, nonetheless. What we see at play here is simple, David's view of God, of himself and of God's people was different than the rest of Saul's army. Why was this the case? What made him believe what trained, professional soldiers and warriors did not believe? 

Boy to Man: I believe the story tells us about a boy who became a man while being raised among 7 other brothers who were all "men's men", to say the least. This was a family who understood how to farm, ranch and go to war. They knew family and they were raised among the Israelite who feared and trusted God. Fearing God and serving God were both familiar ideas, and I believe David learned a dependence on God alone in the fields as a steward and guardian of part of the family livelihood, the sheep. God has sustained him, given him power and met with him. 

Prepared & Tested: 1 & 2 Samuel tell the woven, up and down, zig and zag story of David's life. While the people wanted an earthly King, God did not want to have one. They chose Saul but God chose David and said he had a heart after God. While the people chose a man to lead, a boy, David then, was anointed by Samuel as the true King. A boy was chosen by God, but raised up to be a man by tests, experiences, waiting and faithfulness. He nurtured his heart for God and his hard working role in the family until God released him to be King. I believe in those years he was a man of prayer, of the Word of God, of Worship and of Service. I believe he spent much time in the fields praying and worshiping God, spending time getting close to the heart of God, as mentioned in the book of Acts. 

Why?: Clearly David encountered many challenges, and saw success as a result, but the one we began with, Goliath, is especially important. When he showed up, he carried with him three things no man could give him and apparently, no man, not even a very large warrior of a man, could take them away. 

He had these three things inside him. 

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CLARITY - CONVICTION - COURAGE
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Clarity = clearness or lucidity as to perception of understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity

> As it so happened, according to the story, the first thing David demonstrated when he showed up on the scene was clarity. Freedom from ambiguity, doesn't that sound like David? I think he showed up, identified the enemy, called out God's army, referred to the faithfulness of God in the past and demonstrated how clear he was about the roles of God's people and God's warriors. He saw the problem clearly, he saw a solution and he took action. That leads us to the next C. 

Conviction = a fixed or firm belief. 

> Having clarity lets us see. To see the problems, the players and possible solutions requires clarity, but the fixed and firm belief in one course of action or another requires conviction. David must have had deep conviction to point at this angry army facing God's people and to call them names and say, basically, "who are these punks mocking my people, let's go take them out". That takes conviction and conviction requires evidence. To get a conviction in a court of law, one side presents better evidence. David had a lifetime of evidence where his God had been faithful and strong. He now believed and was firmly convicted that God would get his back once more. I don't think it means he had no fear or worry. I don't think he was stupid, he saw how big and mean the giant was but there was conviction in his bones, and that makes all the difference. 

David had clarity to see, conviction to decide, then David had the Courage to act. 

Courage = the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc.. without fear; bravery. 

> In the story, Saul, the King and chief warrior heard the mocking enemy and became dismayed and terrified. They were frozen in fear and confusion. They lost their clarity and conviction, therefore, fear won, in their hearts. They lost their courage and courage is what allows us to act. It enables us, it empowers us, it gives us the internal push to "do" when others will not. Warriors get medals of honor after battles where they felt the courage enough to run head long into danger and this day, for David, it was just like that. Even the King was impressed by David. He tried to give David his armor, but as we said before, David was young and small. The armor was not a good fit. Clarity, Conviction and Courage were all David needed. And, he knew this. So, he threw off the King's armor and went with the weapon God had allowed him to use before, a rock and a sling, go figure. He hit the giant Philistine warrior right in the head, then went over and cut his head off. This kid was not kidding, he was determined to show everyone that God was real, that God's people were chosen and blessed and that bad things would happen to those who appose them. This young boy had become a man of courage, a man who felt empowered by the convictions of his heart and the God he served. 

Fear identifies what our Giants are. Fill in the blanks by being honest and saying...right now, I fear......

I Fear ____________________________
I Fear ____________________________
I Fear ____________________________
I Fear ____________________________

Then ask God to build in us the clarity to see what he sees, the conviction to believe what he knows will overcome fear with faith and the courage to take steps toward the enemy of our faith. 

The things we write down are the enemy of our faith and the things mocking us and keeping our destiny from becoming our reality. To kill fear with faith does not require all the public display of warfare like this story of David and Goliath. It might be like David killing the wild beasts who attacked his sheep, hidden out in the fields. But either way, God has a plan of blessing, the enemy wants to steal it and now is the time to say no. God wants us to attack these enemies and to cut the head off each one so they never live again to torment or terrify us. 

Let's spend the next week or two asking God to train our hearts and minds the way he did David. Give us the clarity, conviction and courage of this young David. "God, make me a Young David, willing and able to defeat the armies of the enemy with the weapons you have put in my hands, use me to encourage God's people and to rescue those held in terror by the threats of the enemy, make me a warrior of freedom and life"  That is my prayer 
today. 

Scripture Reference: 1 & 2 Samuel (NIV)


Billy.Ramsdell@Gmail.com

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