SKILLED FOR THE DEFEAT OF YOUR GIANTS
In case you did not know, faith is a struggle, it is a fight! Paul writes to his protégé, Timothy, saying - "Fight the good fight of faith." (1 Tim. 6:12)
However, Paul does not simply stop there, he continues with the admonishment to - "Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Tim. 6:12)
There seems to be two levels of action implied here - striving (fighting) and seizing (taking hold). These descriptive words do not have anything to do with the initial Salvation of an individual. The Holy Spirit makes this point clear through Paul to the believers in Ephesus - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The words in Ephesians 6:12 were meant for individuals who had already surrendered their lives to Christ. So, the striving and seizing that Paul communicates is a warning, encouragement and admonishment all wrapped-up in one package. Paul's words were a description of a lifestyle that would follow after one made the decision For Christ.
There is no spurning any involvement in the fight. There is no promise of a bed of roses in this earthbound faith-journey. Persecution is promised (John 15:20). Why then select the Christian faith? Because the reward outweighs the cost. Christ Jesus is always the ultimate example and this is no exception - "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)
Knowing that there will be hardships in life for everyone, especially Christians, The Holy Spirit encourages believers through Paul - "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
So, what does it mean to fight the good fight of faith? I believe perspective is the key to the answer. Though struggles and battles may be physical, mental and emotional there is a spiritual side to them as well. And in all cases Christians have the help of the Holy Spirit.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12)
I believe David recognized this spiritual side to earthly obstacles early in his life. When David battled Goliath, he gave us a framework for tackling our giants of all kinds, shapes and sizes. David identified the problem from inquiring within Israel's own ranks, received permission to represent Israel against Goliath and then prophesied to Goliath's face the outcome.
"David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." (1 Samuel 17:45)
Notice even though Goliath has pride, a size advantage and large weapons, David has all that anyone will ever need in their life - the Lord Almighty. Not only did David proclaim this to his giant as we should to ours, he utilized his God-given skills, talents or gifts and charged Goliath.
David did not just happen upon this scene as a cocky, underdog kid who thought he would love to have a crack at the giant. David did not waiver, stumble or flee in this encounter. This young man sprinted toward Goliath with what God had always weaponized him with in the wild - a rod, staff and slingshot. David had a track record of killing lions and bears. Goliath's size, pride and weapons were not going to be a problem. His skill-set and relationship with God prepared him for success. This was why David refused the armor given to him by King Saul, because not only did it not fit him, but it did not suit God's equipping of him as shepherd since birth.
Fashioned by God's upbringing on the hills of Israel, I do not think David thought more highly of himself than he ought, rather he thought of himself, Israel and God with sober judgment in accordance with the faith God had supplied him (Romans 12:3).
Courage to take on giants like Goliath comes from a healthy resume of defeating uglier, more menacing things in our world. Writing to the believers in Corinth and down through the ages, Paul attempts to bolster this courage as he says, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." (1 Cor. 16:13)
We too, like David, must trust in what The Lord has blessed or equipped us with to defeat our mental, physical and spiritual giants. Later, in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit encourages Christians through Paul - "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;" (Romans 12:6).
Part of the believer's daily armor for giant and non-giant challenges is The Shield of Faith. The Shield of Faith, spoken of in Ephesians 6:16, is the equivalent of David's proclamation to Goliath before the battle. Remember David's words to the giant? “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." (1 Samuel 17:45)
Revelation 12:11 reminds Christians of the offensive and defensive weapons Christ has fitted believers with against their giants - the blood of Christ (offensive) and the word of their testimony (defensive).
The believer's Shield is their testimony. Christians are encouraged to claim their triumph over the enemy by the blood of Christ and the word of their testimony, not even shying away from dying for Christ Jesus (Rev. 12:11). In addition, God's Shield, perfectly fitted for the believer by the Holy Spirit, is able to quench not just some "arrows" from the enemy but "all" the "flaming arrows" (Eph. 6:16).
I find interesting that Paul also labels the breastplate as having the characteristics of Faith and Love in 1 Thessalonians 5:8. In both instances, Ephesians and 1 Thessalonians, the Christian is covered with protection and has numerous chinks in the shield or breastplate to testify of God's provision.
Before the Goliath takedown, David prepared himself in a nearby stream by selecting stones he might use against his foe. It only took one, well-placed, experienced stone/shot according to Scripture.
David was shepherd of his earthly father's pasture and with the defeat of Goliath would become a Shepherd of Israel. Please do not sit on the skills, talents and gifts God has blessed you with. I encourage you and I believe Scripture encourages you in this David-Goliath example to speak to your giants in The Name of The Lord, using what God has skilled you with for the defeat of your giants.