PASTOR'S PEN: Facing our giants
By Rev. Joe C. Washington
Christ Community Church
Have you ever felt like everything and everyone in your life is bigger or greater than you? Have you ever felt as though you live in the land of giants? The truth is that we do live in a land of giants. There are things that are bigger than we are, things which seem to stand between us and the place where God wants us to be.
In the Old Testament, God sent His people, Israel, to a place called The Promised Land. It was a great place to live flowing with milk and honey, but it also was inhabited by giants whom they would have to face and defeat.
We, too, live in a land of giants which we must face if we are to reside in the place God has for us. The course or road the Israelites had to travel is the same one we must traverse if we are going to inherit our promised land.
They had to be willing to face, fight and defeat the giants who stood in the way of their promises from Jehovah God.
In order to reach our promised land, we must all face the fact spiritual warfare is a necessity. God never glosses over the fact that there is going to be warfare for His children.
He told Moses there would be blessings and enemies in the Promised Land (Exodus 3:16-17). He promised Joshua the Land but told him he would have to be strong and courageous to face its challenges (Joshua 1:1-7). He promised Gideon he would save Israel but he would have to face the Midiantes (Judges 6:15-16). He anointed David to be king as a youth but David still had Goliath and Saul to fight (1 Samuel).
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was no less forthcoming with His disciples and with us. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘a servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:18-20).
In other words, there is great joy and blessing in following Christ, but there will be battles to fight and giants to slay. These battles are a necessity and they are very real because we live in the land of giants.
Since we have to face our giants and fight these battles in the land of the giants to receive our inheritance from God, what is the nature of our warfare? In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, the Apostle Paul warned, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Therefore, we are to be engaged in offensive warfare. We are not called to hold the fort against the giants of life. Unfortunately, that is the plan many of us seem to have. We want to circle the wagons at the church building and hold off the devil until Jesus comes back.
That is not God’s plan for our lives! When Goliath challenged Israel, Saul hid in his tent and just hoped everything would work out. When the Midianites were destroying Israel, Gideon was hiding in a wine press. We are not called to run for cover either. When faced with the giants of life we far too often panic and make a mess out of things in our lives.
Instead of running and taking cover from our giants, God has called us to face our giants in this land by 1) pulling down strongholds and 2) casting down imaginations. The Greek words pull down mean to dethrone. In other words, we are asked and equipped by our God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ to pull down, or dethrone the stronghold of any false god or anything that has risen above the knowledge of our God.
We live our lives with major strongholds which replace the true Jehovah God with a false god. We must dethrone anything and anyone who tries to replace our God. We are called to engage in this type of offensive warfare to face and defeat our giants.
In addition, we are also called to cast down imaginations and this means we are to conquer them. We are to attack and conquer imaginations of this world. What are these imaginations? They are the deceptive and fleshly way of thinking common to this world system.
Paul spoke of this in Colossians 2:8-10 when he said, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us that a giant is anything that exalts itself above God. We are to cast down every high thing. These are those things that seem too far above us to even hope to win against them. Goliath towered above everyone else in Israel. He was even taller than their king (Saul), the tallest man in the entire kingdom. No matter how big Goliath was, Israel could bring him down if they let God fight their battle for them.
In the end, a giant is anything or anyone that refuses to give God His rightful place. It is what exalts itself against the knowledge of God. This includes people who are operating in the flesh rather than in the Spirit, circumstances that make it appear that God is not in control, and attitudes that put man before God.
It is imperative we understand that there are weapons we cannot trust. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, or fleshly. We cannot face the giants of life with weapons of our own making. It is that carnal or fleshly nature that is our problem in the first place (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). God has given us weapons we can trust. These weapons are mighty in God.
Though we live in this world (in the land of the giants) and face the problems of this world (giants), we have a different way to face those problems. This is the emphasis of Galatians 2:20 which reminds us, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” We cannot trust weapons of this world – we must trust God’s weapons. David refused to fight Goliath with the weapons of Saul. He knew he must fight God’s battle God’s way. We must guard against trusting in the flashy and appealing answers of this world rather than in the trustworthy weapons of God’s armory.
“So Saul clothed David with his armor … And David said to Saul, ‘I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.’ So David took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine." (1 Samuel 17:38-40).
It is clear we have been given weapons by God to fight His battles and to face our giants. He has given us: 1) His Word, which shall never return to Him void; 2) Prayer, which He is always listening and ready to answer; and 3) His People, whom He often has reserved and has prepared to help us fight. What giants do you face in your life? Do you find other people, circumstances, or things within in your own heart and mind coming between you and obeying God with your whole heart? Hebrews 12:1-2 gives us the ultimate answer for all the giants of life – “Jesus the author and finisher of your faith."