Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fight or Flight

Earlier this week I was reading the well known story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17).

As many will know, at a time when the Philistines and the Israelites were in conflict, one man created a stir.

Goliath, a Philistine, was about 3 metres tall and built like a tank! He was one scary guy. Every day he would step out to the battle line and confront the 'good guys', the Israelites, challenging anyone to duel. If Goliath won the duel, then the Israelites would become the slaves of the Philistines, and vice versa.

This Philistine giant taunted the Israelites day after day after day - looking for a fight. In the minds of all Isralites (but one), this giant was undefeatable.

We may think of this story as nothing more than a 'sunday school story', not really relevant for today's circumstances.

Yet how many people find themselves facing a giant in their life that taunts them day after day after day.

For some, it could be pornography, for others it could be alcohol. Perhaps our giant is depression, or food, or debt, or insecurity, or anger, or infidelity.

Whatever the giant - for some the taunting is daily. Daily there is a struggle to not give in and become a slave to it's seduction. Daily there is a mental battle. Daily there is a call to give in! We can get to the point where we feel our giant is overwhelming and undefeatable.


Of most importance in gaining the victory, David knew that the battle wasn't his, but the battle was the Lord's. He knew that it was God that would deliver the victory, not David's own ability.

The bible says that God's Spirit is our strength where we are weak. It is these very situations where we know we cannot defeat the giants in our life that God comes, fills us with his Holy Spirit and we find ourselves being able to overcome the giants in our lives.

God knows you can't overcome your giants - apart from Him. Apart from God, we can do nothing. This isn't a physical fight. It's a spiritual fight... and through God, we can defeat the giants in our life.

There's one final point to make - for David, victory came not from fighting the giant on Goliath's terms (with sword and shield), but from fighting with the tools and strategies best suited for David (stone and sling).

We need to identify the best weapons and strategies for our battles.

My brother was trained up as a security guard. They were taught - when you're confronted to fight.. RUN!

The bible tells us to do the same for some of our battles. For example, for giants such as lust, pornography and infidelity, alcoholism, debt, the bible makes your weapon very clear.. RUN! Don't try to negotiate. Don't try to hang around the battle field thinking you can overcome - GET OUT OF THERE. Don't put yourself in the positions where you know the battle will heat up.

If you struggle with alcohol, then going to a bar to fight your battle may not be the wisest move. STAY AWAY.

If your giant is food and indulgence, then don't go shopping when you're hungry! Don't fill your fridge with chocolate!

For some giants, we need to face up to them. We need to stop pretending the battle doesn't exist. For example, if your giant is insecurity and inadequacy, then it's time to stand up to that giant and speak what you know to be true. "I will listen to these lies no longer! I will not allow these thought to taunt my mind for another day! I will live in the truth of God's thoughts of me, thoughts of hope, thoughts of a future, thoughts of Love"

We need to wise in battle, and God says in the bible that if anyone lacks wisdom, let them ask God for it, and He will give you wisdom.

In Ephesians, the bible also sets out weapons that we need to take up everyday, including the truth, righteousness, peace, hope, salvation and prayer. (I can't do justice exploring these in this blog and encourage you to study these further). I recently heard someone say "prepare for battle in times of peace".

God has said that you will never be tempted beyond what you can handle and that He will always provide a way out.

So the next time your giant taunts you, realise that this is not your battle - the battle belongs to God. Pray, as I have often done, "God - I'm weak here right now - please show me the way out of this. Holy Spirit - be my strength".. and stand and fight... or run!

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