The past eight months have been for me a time of intense warfare. In November I had received some words from the Lord about the coming year and was so full of excitement about the future. Then, in January my medical diagnosis shook our unsuspecting family to the core.
I learned so much on this journey, the chief thing being how incredibly amazing God is when you are at the bottom of the darkest pit. I felt and experienced Holy Spirit's presence and comfort in ways I had never even imagined. Even so, there were days of intense battle, and it still continues on some days.
I have experienced firsthand that moving towards our promises is grounds for the kingdom of darkness to wage war against us. The greater the promise, the greater the attack may be. In last week's blog I shared some strategies for overcoming the giants in your life. This week I want to share some of the tactics the enemy uses to demoralize us through these giants.
You've finally arrived at your promised land only to find an inconvenient giant camping out there. He's not just camping out, he's brewing campfire coffee and making dinner for his giant buddies. He is squatting on your land and he's not planning to leave.
And this is no BFG (big friendly giant). No, the giants that illegally inhabit our land are on assignment from the kingdom of darkness and won't give up without a fight.
I'm no military expert, but I've heard it is good to study your enemies so that you are knowledgeable and familiar with their tactics and strategies.
The dictionary defines anatomy as, "A study of the structure or internal workings of something."
If we are to be successful in defeating our giants, it can be helpful to understand the anatomy or internal workings of a giant. Giants can take on different shapes, sizes, and traits, but there are some distinctive characteristics that will help us learn to recognize a giant and be prepared for their attack. Here are three things I've learned about confronting my giants:
1. Giants dress for success. The giants in our lives work really hard at presenting a fearsome appearance. I call this the smoke and mirrors effect. The result of this attack in our hearts is often hopelessness, futility, and feeling completely overwhelmed. I can't help but think of Goliath in I Sam. 17 as he presented himself to King Saul and the Israelites. Here's the way Goliath is described:
He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. (I Sam. 17:4b-7)
One look at this guy and you want to head for the hills! Scripture tells us that the Israelites were "dismayed and terrified" after seeing Goliath. And that is the intended response. But, David was not intimidated by the size or appearance of Goliath. David carried an inner strength that had been built on his intimacy and experiences with God. He knew His God and what He could do, and David chose to focus on that instead of the fearsome appearance of Goliath. This is evident in David's comments to King Saul when he said, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine." (I Sam. 17:37)
Don't let the size shape, or appearance of your giant scare you.
2. Giants often stand between you and your destiny. Giants will most often show up at the door to your destiny, or right when you expect to step into your promised land. It would do us well to remember that this is where we will most likely have a giant sighting. The element of surprise is often part of their demoralizing tactic. But, unlike the Israelites, we do not have to fall prey to the giant's antics.
What was it within David that caused him to run toward his enemy when all the other Israelites ran away? David not only relied on his history with God through intimacy and encounters, but he carried within him the promise of his prophetic destiny. Samuel had already anointed David to be king, and though David had not seen anything resembling the manifestation of that reality, he carried the promise of this reality within his heart. This gave him courage to run towards his destiny and courage to run towards Goliath as well. The testimony of God's faithfulness in your life, and the promise of your prophetic destiny will give you the strength to run towards the giants in your land.
3. Giants posture and intimidate. Goliath was an expert at this particular technique. His very first words to the cowering ranks of Israel give a good example of just how menacing he could be.
"Why do you come out and line up for battle?" (I Sam. 17:8), he taunted. And later to David with his trusty slingshot, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" (17:43) Goliath's threatening verbal grand finale can be found in verse 44, "Come here" he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"
But, David didn't back down one bit. In fact, he met Goliath's smack talk with a little smack talk of his own. David's words reveal the depth of his trust in God and his confidence in how God would come through for him. His words also reveal that his battle with Goliath was not about him and building his own ego. His heart in defeating Goliath was that the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. (vs. 46)
One of the best and most loved parts of this story is the fact that David defeated Goliath with a slingshot and a stone. David could have tried to find a fancy sword, or some other impressive weapon, but instead he used the weapon that God had already developed in his life.
God is training each one of us in warfare and preparing us for our battles. We don't need to try and wear someone else's armor or search for a better weapon. God has already equipped us with what we need to confront our giants, and as He was with David, He will be with us.