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We all face giants in life, those seemingly insurmountable problems and issues that only seem to loom larger with the passing of time. For some, it may be the giant of fear. For others, it may be the giant of addiction. For still others, it may be the giant of family problems.
Whatever giants we may face, they can feel as though they are ruling our lives and are virtually unstoppable. We find ourselves wondering, can this giant ever be brought down?
The Bible gives us the answers we need for dealing with the giants in our lives. And we find them in one of the greatest giant stories of all time, the story of David and Goliath.
After David had been anointed the next king of Israel, but before he assumed the throne, war broke out between Israel and her longtime enemy, the Philistines. While David’s brothers were on the front lines in the Valley of Elah, David was busy tending sheep. But one day, his father sent him to take food to his brothers. So David arrived at the front lines, saw the Philistine army lined up on the other side of the valley and heard a voice bellowing from down below. There was Goliath, nine-feet-six inches of solid muscle, covered in body armor, taunting and challenging someone from Israel’s army to come and take him on. He even offered an option: If he wins, the Israelites would serve the Philistines, but if his opponent wins, the Philistines would serve Israel. But no one was willing to go. David listened for a little while, and then he volunteered to take on Goliath.
Of course, we know the rest of the story. David killed Goliath with a sling and a single stone. The will of the Philistines was broken, and the Israelites were reinvigorated. David, the shepherd boy, had cut down the giant, Goliath.
What we learn from this story about facing our own giants is that every giant can be defeated. Regardless of what giants you are dealing with, what problems you are facing, or what temptation you are grappling with, they can be defeated.
Remember, Goliath was not always a giant. He was once a helpless, little baby. With the passing of time and the nurturing of others, that little baby became a toddler. The toddler became a child. The child became a teenager. The teenager became a young man. And the young man turned into a giant of a person.
In the same way, our giants often begin quite small and then become big. What seems like a giant to you today started small, but with your enabling, even perhaps with your nurturing and your excusing it, it got bigger and stronger and more powerful in your life.
I have never met an alcoholic who did not start with just a few drinks. No one starts out drinking throughout the entire day and night. Maybe it started with peer pressure. Maybe it started out as social drinking. Then it was a few drinks after work to unwind a little bit. Then it was a couple of drinks to get through the day. And the next thing they knew, it was a major problem. Little things turn into big things.
We also learn from David’s victory over his giant that the battle is God’s, not ours. David told Goliath, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47 NIV). The reason our giants defeat us again and again is that we face them in our own strength. We need God’s help to face our giants. There is a spiritual dynamic in play that we need to be aware of. Because it is a spiritual battle, we need to fight it with spiritual weapons. When you pray about something, you are able to see it in its proper light. One of the purposes of prayer is to get things in perspective. And when you see God for who he is, you will see your giants for what they are. The problem is that we often look at God in the light of our giants instead of looking at our giants in the light of God.
Finally, we learn from David’s example that we need to attack our giants. The Bible tells us that Goliath was actually stepping out from the Philistine ranks and taunting the Israelites. If you tolerate a giant, he will take over your territory. If you ask him into your living room, it is only a matter of time until he will take over the whole house. That is why you don’t run from giants. You don’t negotiate with them. You attack them. The Bible tells us that as Goliath moved closer to attack him, David quickly ran out to meet him (see 1 Samuel 17:48). He didn’t just hold his ground. He didn’t walk forward cautiously. He sprinted toward Goliath.
In the same way, we need to attack whatever giants we are facing. Stop rationalizing it, stop excusing it, and stop hiding it. Push it out from the darkness and into the light of day. Go to a responsible Christian or to a pastor and say, “I have a problem with this, and I am asking you to hold me accountable.”
Nothing will happen until you attack your giant. We may feel that if we attack our giants, they will destroy us – they will bring us down. We cannot attack it in our strength, but we can in God’s strength. It is a spiritual battle and must be fought with spiritual weapons.
So what is your giant today? Everyone has a giant. It is just a matter of what, where, or who yours is. As you face your giant, remember the battle belongs to God. It is a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons. And whatever it is, whatever problem you are facing, force your giant into the light of day. Be accountable. Be responsible. Put up barriers of protection around your life. And don’t let that giant back into your life again.