Category Archives: Series

Mirror, Mirror Part Two: Dirty Images (Devo, January 17)

“And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother”
-1 John 4:21

This is one of my biggest issues with some of Christianity today.

We love God. We go to church every Sunday, we go to youth group, we sing the songs, we are good Christians. And then we turn around with such angry negativity towards others. It upsets me so much when I see the Westboros of the world on the news. When I go on a Facebook post and see all of the hateful, spiteful comments from people who claim to be standing on the Word of God. When I look up a YouTube video and see arguments back and forth that devolve into name calling and hate speech.

What have we come to as Christians?
Why do we feel like we are called to such hate?

I am so disappointed. I can understand why there are people that really are upset with Christianity. There is so much hypocrisy, so much backlash and anger. It’s frustrating to watch! It gives people a bad taste, a bad image of what this Christian life is all about. It’s a distorted image, a dirty mirror, an unclean reflection of our God.

We are called to act in love. We are called to show the love of Christ to the world, to be able to be His love and mercy and grace to this world. What this does NOT mean, however, is that we have to back down from the truth. There are still things that we need to stand on. The Word of God is the Word of God, and the decrees are infallible, the judgements are true. I do and will always stand for pro-life. I am against gay marriage, I am against legalizing drugs, I am against macro-evolution and I stand on the biblical side of many such issues. And I will tell you so. But I am not defined by the things I stand against. I want to be known by what I stand for-truth, love, honesty, grace, and forgiveness. We can have our stances on issues as Christians. But there is a way to act in love and in truth that will reflect the One we serve.

We don’t have to be mean, or hateful, or spiteful, or arrogant, or rude. That’s not our God. And we cannot possibly claim to really love God if we walk around with such feelings towards others in our hearts. We need to step back. We need to be able to have dialogue with those who believe things we do not. We need to have conversations. We don’t need to tolerate it all, to accept all ways of thought. There are hard truths that need to be told! It’s going to cause division in itself, because this road is a narrow one we walk. As the Word says:

14 In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. ”  (Phil. 2:14-15)

and again:

“6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, [with] purity in doctrine, dignified, sound [in] speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:6-8)

Let us be a people of integrity, who love our brothers and sisters as we go out and share the Good News of the Gospel. Will you live a life full of love and truth?

.http://bible.com/59/1jn.4.21.esv 

Mirror, Mirror Part One: Look at Yourself! (Devo, January 15)

“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen”
-1 John 4:20

     Our attitudes towards others reflect way more than we think about how we have responded to God. If you say you trust God, but are always grumbling and complaining to everyone, then maybe you need to reevaluate. If you say you have God’s peace but are constantly worried and anxious about every situation, then you might not be so secure. If you say that you love God but are always having strife with your neighbors or your family, then maybe there are some deeper issues.

     This is because we were created as relational beings-to be in relationship with each other, and with God. If your relationship with the latter isn’t solid, it is going to affect your relationship with the former. How can I love men if I don’t love God, the source of love? How can I open up to others about my problems when I can’t talk to the One who knows them already? How can I be at peace with my neighbors when I don’t even have peace within myself?

     Today’s task is simple. Throughout the day, just take a moment and step back, and see how you are interacting with those around you. Do your relationships on this earth reflect a positive, healthy relationship you have in heaven? Or are there some things going on down here that you need to work out with the Lord?

.http://bible.com/59/1jn.4.20.esv

The Romans Roadmap: Day 2-Of Bears and Lambs

“For God shows no partiality”
-Romans 2:11
Have any of you heard this phrase?
“I don’t have to outrun the bear-just outrun you”.
It’s a funny saying, but yet it means much more than we realize.
We don’t have to outrun the ultimate means of our demise-sin-we just have to be faster than the person next to us. I propose that this is how many people view morality today.
We don’t have to outrun evil. We just have to be better, faster, more good, more pious, than the next person. We all can sigh with relief because we aren’t Dahmers or bin Ladens or the like, even if we do dabble around in sin a bit.
We are decent people just trying to good for ourselves.
If I am being as good as I can be, that’s enough-right?

The road map that is Romans takes us down the path we wander as humans in chapters 2 and 3. He brings to light an issue that nobody gives much voice to; the fact that humanity is just concerned (if at all concerned) with simply staying ahead of our neighbor.
We just want to be “good people”, whatever that may look like. And one way we naturally measure our progress is by how far ahead we are of other people. When confronted with our own sin, we usually argue by pointing out other people’s flaws; as if by bringing them to as low or lower of a place than we are, we can justify our own actions. We are effectively trying to push other people closer to the bear than we are, to make ourselves feel better. Unfortunately, as we see in Chapter 3, nobody is righteous in their own merit. “For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” says Romans 3:20. Trying to “do good” and do our best means nothing. We are all under sin.

To put it simply-God doesn’t want us just outrunning the bear. He does, however, want us running-toward the Lamb. This is what we are going to examine today.

Running from the bear:

Romans chapter two deals a lot with the hypocrisy of the people. Paul points out this with a few simple statements:

“You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?….You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.” -Romans 2:21-24

This kind of action is still true today. We do have laws in place, this is true. But while we condemn certain actions as humanity and as society, others are accepted and even praised. For example: There is a big conflict in America about the legislation passing that would legalize same-sex marriage. This is a bad thing that is beginning to happen, that is true. But what about heterosexual sin? The same people who claim that such laws would destroy America fail to acknowledge that the adultery and lust that permeates same-sex couples is just as bad of a problem. We pick and choose the soapboxes we want to stand on, while ignoring our own sin.

What Paul does here is show us that we ALL sin. We ALL have issues that we deal with where we do not practice what we preach.

In Luke, there is the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee. Basically, they are both praying to God. The Pharisee (proud and standing, mind you) proclaims thanks to God that he is not as bad of a person as the tax collector. The tax collector, on his knees, doesn’t try to justify anything. He just asks God for mercy, because he is a sinner. (Luke 18:9-14, if you want to read more). Jesus then asked: Who do you think God had mercy on?

The problem with running from the bear is this: God doesn’t care how far you are from the bear. We have a Pharisaical mindset that God is happy with us if we aren’t as bad as the people around us, and this just isn’t true! If just running from the bear is your aim, then you have missed the point. God wants us to be broken like the tax collector, and admit our sin. We need to admit that we are hopeless, that we can’t do anything on our own, that we can’t meet God’s standards no matter how much we try. Our relationship with God is a one-on-one, intimate relationship. He doesn’t care if we aren’t as holy as John, or if we don’t tithe as much as Susan. What God cares about is where WE are in our OWN heart with Him. This isn’t to say that we can’t have role models and mentors and such. It just means that our ultimate standard for how we should live should be God Himself, shown to us through Jesus Christ.

And THAT is the hope given to us by God, written down by Paul. We can still run! There is still another path to choose. We don’t need to run from this bear, trying to hold ourselves up under our own effort, to no avail. We can instead fall to our knees and run to the Lamb of God.

Running to the Lamb

Now this is  a topic that will come up in future posts, as Paul gets into MUCH detail about the saving grace that is Christ. In Romans 2 and 3, though, we do see him allude to what God does for us. Romans states that we are all under the righteous judgement of God (Romans 2:3, 5, 12, 16….). God is the ultimate Judge, His Word is law. And the law that He gave is one that we cannot possibly keep on our own. But look at what Paul says in verse 4:
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”.
We take advantage of this love and mercy, but in fact those very attributes of God are meant to bring us into a place where we recognize our need for Him. This is the wonderful thing about God! While His judgement shows no partiality or favoritism, neither does His kindness and forbearance and patience. He is willing and wants to shower those gifts upon anyone and everyone that will receive them. How much more will the Father give good gifts to His children, Jesus asks in the Gospels. God knows full well that we are entangled in the jaws of the bear. Yet, He gives us this hope anyways, due to His nature as a loving Father.
We all know that ever famous verse that lies in Romans 3-that “all have fallen short of the glory of God”.
Take a look, though, at the continuation:

“…and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins” (Romans 3:23-25)

Have we all sinned? Yes. How then, can we be justified?
Not through our own righteousness compared to our neighbors. Not through how far we have managed to come from the bear. But by the righteousness of God alone, displayed in the sacrifice His Son made on the cross.

Next time we gather, we are going to start to look at the road upward.
How exactly can we be made right in the eyes of God if we all sin? How can there be a reconciliation of God and man if we are all sinners, all fallen short?
The answer, of course, is found in Jesus-
but that is for another day.

God bless!

The Romans Roadmap: Day 1-The Initial Address

“For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
-Romans 1:20

Technology is amazing these days. Before it conked out on me, I was in love with my GPS in my car. I could plug in my address, my destination, and it would give me turn-by-turn instructions on how to get there. Did I still get lost? Of course. But the GPS was almost always correct in it’s calculations.
This, to me, is how I look at the book of Romans. I have read this book through several times, and it never ceases to amaze me just how much wisdom and direction and life is packed into it! What Romans does is much like a GPS-it spells out the life of a Christian from beginning to end. From the initial address of who we used to be, to the end destination of what to do with this life-saving Good News of Jesus Christ, Romans is like a mini-Bible within a Bible. It walks us through separation from God, our salvation in God, and our reaction to God.

Just like any set of directions, though, it has to have a solid starting address. Paul begins Romans by giving us the starting address for humanity-fallen. There are two interesting distinctions made in the latter half of chapter one, which bring us to this conclusion of mankind’s brokenness before God. First, we see that God didn’t hide himself from us. Secondly, we see that we have made an outright rejection of God.

1. Humanity CAN see God.

in the verse above, we see that God has left no excuse for people to not know of His existence and power. In theological terms, this is known more commonly as general revelation-the fact that, through nature and natural means, God makes His existence known. There are a great many things we can tell about who God is from nature. Things like His power, His perfection, His grace, His love, His peace..Paul even says that creation speaks to the Godhead (the Trinity) and to God’s eternal power. Psalm 19:1-4 puts it this way:

“The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.”

Everything in creation was created to give glory back to God. Nobody is without excuse that God exists; that He is powerful and magnificent and almighty. It is evident everywhere we look! Science is becoming increasingly aware of these kinds of points, as we discover more and more about how delicately and beautifully everything is held together in the universe. Just think-if no two snowflakes are the same (a fact humans basically all agree on), then that means no two snowflakes have ever been the same. EVER. That points to an infinitely creative God. No sunset has ever been the same, ever, and each one is absolutely breathtaking. That points to an infinitely beautiful God!!
But people still manage to deny the existence of God, or even point to other sources of meaning, other religions or lifestyles. This brings me to my second point

2. Humanity WON’T see God

The second interesting point Paul makes in Romans 1 is the fact that humanity didn’t acknowledge that God is God, even though they knew it to be true. Instead, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man...” (Romans 1:22-23). The rejection of God as the ultimate ruler and authority has been going on since the beginning of time. People have always looked to themselves or to their imaginations or to other deities as the source of life. There have always been perversions of the one true God out there. Because people were so stubborn as to fool themselves, Romans says that God let them fall into their own sinful ways. This may seem strange-wouldn’t God want them to stop, and worship Him?

Of course He does. The Scriptures proclaim that God wishes that all would be saved and know Him.

However, think of it this way. As a parent, if you have a child that continually is opposing you, sometimes it is best to let them learn from the consequences of their own actions. It doesn’t mean you don’t still love them or that you don’t protect them. But if your son insists on eating too many cookies, then he gets a stomachache.
My uncle put it this way to me, when I got my first car. He told me that “..You don’t have  a curfew. But the car does. So be responsible.”.

In the same way, God tells us that we have free will. We can choose to obey Him or not. But not obeying God does have its’ consequences. Sadly, humanity as a whole has fallen away from obeying God and now we do suffer the consequences. It’s because of our lack of obedience and recognition of who God really is that we have things like lying, and sexual immorality, and murder, and hate, and depression. We weren’t created to be this way. We chose it.

The world knows the name of Jesus. But our starting point is a place in which humanity has consistently ignored and put down His name.
Humanity’s starting address is 000 Fallen Path, Earth.
Now, our final destination can be one of two places. Heaven, for lovers and followers of Christ, or hell, for those who reject Him. There is no in between.
Next time, then, we must address the question of :
“Is it even fair for God to judge us based on what we’ve done? After all, there are good people too. We do try and live good lives. Do we even deserve Hell?”

This initial start may not seem encouraging now, but it is good to have a firm foundation of where we were before we can leap to where we are going. Understanding the state of humanity is crucial in figuring out why Jesus is so worth following.
God bless!

40 Days In The Wilderness: A Journey Through Lent (Day 4)

 “For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see”
-Psalm 36:9

     The most simplest of phrases, and yet it is so profound. 
     This journey has been a hard one. I didn’t realize how attached I was to that social media interaction, or eating without thought, or laziness, until I had to do without it. I’ve slipped up multiple times-even the first day, I was bored late at night and automatically went to Tumblr, before realizing what I was doing. It was an unconscious act-and that’s scary! To think that there are habits we develop that become so second nature that we don’t even recognize what we are doing. In counteracting this, though, I am so much more aware of the things that I am doing with my day. Every moment, every passage of time that is a chance to do something, is a moment to reflect on just what I am doing and who am I doing it for? To please myself? Or to give glory to God? 
     I’ve been busy the past few days so I have been occupied enough. I have been eating much better, and sleeping in less and less. Waking up to sit quietly before God is an amazing thing! But my favorite experience, so far, happened yesterday. 

     One thing that God has been showing me is that I need to appreciate the little things more. The basic things, the things that are “normal” in life to me. This entire spring break has been about those little things-spending time with family, or playing with my dogs in the morning. I had dreams of a nice trip away that I wanted to take, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I am having much more fun just being at home. But yesterday it was nice outside and I wanted a little adventure, so I went out. I found a park near Concordia University (where I’m going next year) that is absolutely breathtaking. It’s woodsy and secluded and right on the shore of Lake Michigan. I went there to just have some quiet time and take in God’s creation, read the Word. Normal stuff.
     But God just floored me! It’s amazing what spending time away in nature can do. I was so in awe that I just stopped and stood. Looking around it was like everywhere I turned He was speaking to me-in the wind, in the birds that sang, in the stillness and quietness of the place.

     I flipped open my Bible, and the first verse I saw was the one above.

 You are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Such a simple phrase.

     And yet in it, there is so much depth and such a clear picture of who God is. He is the master and Lord of my heart, the one who guides me in His perfect will. There is no darkness about our God. In Revelation it talks of the fact that there is no need for the sun or stars, because the glory that proceeds from Him is more than enough to see with. He is light, and He is life-both providing us with physical being and also with the emotional, mental, and spiritual strength to live. Not just be alive, but to live life to it’s fullest!  To those who need hope, He is hope. To those who are without love, it says that God is love. For people without a family, He is our Father. To those who are lost, He illuminates the way to Himself with open arms. He raises up the humble and brings justice and peace and mercy with every breath.  Just look at what the Scriptures say about the might of our God!

“20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
 to whom belong wisdom and might.

21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings;
 he gives wisdom to the wise

 and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.” -Daniel 2:20-22, ESV

And again, 

“For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
    and declares to man what is his thought,
who makes the morning darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth—
    the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!” -Amos 4:13, ESV

And yet again:

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39, ESV

Still more:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” -Isaiah 40:28, ESV

There is so much that we cannot even begin to fathom. Our God is an awesome, omnipotent, all powerful God. He is the fountain of life, the Creator of the universe and the Lord who reigns on high!

And this is what I have learned, so far. Nothing new. But new all the same. Sometimes, it’s the little things. The fundamental things. The things we know to the point we take them for granted, and forget to really let them soak in to our entire being. God is all-powerful. Good. True. But when you REALLY take time to let that sink in; to let the infinite majesty of God just surround you and drown yourself in His presence and light? 

It changes things. 

Our God is not a distant God. He is present-a mover, a shaker, a bringer of justice and a redeemer of hearts.

He is the fountain of life, and the light by which we see. 

40 Days In The Wilderness: A Journey Through Lent (Day 1)

Let me preface this by saying that this is the first time I have ever actually tried to observe any facet of Lent. This year I just felt a prompting in my spirit to take part. I am going to take these 40 days and use them to really reflect on my relationship with God, my own humanity, and His calling in my life. Now, Lent is not something that is specifically mentioned in the Bible. It is a tradition and observance of the Church. I am not saying that one should or should not observe Lent-it’s a personal decision. I, for one, think that it is a good time to really spend time with God-to let go of some of the things that have captivated us and let God fill our heart, mind, body, and spirit. It is my hope and desire that times like this should occur more often in my life, as the Lord leads me. If this is a period of time set aside for specifically this purpose, then it sits well in my spirit as a good place to begin.

As follows the religious custom, there are a few things that I am going to be giving up, or fasting from.

1. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, and texting as much as possible)
2. Fast Foods/Excessive eating
3. Sleeping in/Going to bed late

The first one has a twofold purpose. I have to do this anyway as part of a project for Sociology (see how withdrawing from social media can affect a digitally-minded kid), but I feel like it’s a good idea anyway. Social media, while useful and entertaining in many ways, has a way of working it’s way into the subconscious. I often find myself looking through Tumblr or Instagram whenever I was bored, or had nothing to do. I check my phone often for messages, or Snapchats-searching for constant connection  with the world outside. What this does is it prevents me from being present in the moment that I am in. Something that I have learned recently is the importance of being authentic in who I am. That requires being present mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, as well as physically. Again, in Romans 12:2 it says  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJV)”. This is not to say that Christians shouldn’t use social media-it can be an excellent avenue to spread the Gospel in this increasingly digital age. Rather, I should be conscious of just how I use social media. If I use it to escape, to rant about my problems, to give in to the pleasures of my flesh, to seek approval from man instead of God, and let it be an outlet for my sinful desires-then I am following the pattern of the world. But if I use it to further the message of the Gospel, to be a light and a soldier for Christ in the midst of all of the pop-culture mayhem that goes on, then that is okay. Personally, lately I have found myself slipping into more of the former. So for this time I will be giving these things up and focusing my thoughts and energy on God. When I have downtime, I’ll pray or read His Word instead of looking for the next app to cure my boredom. I’ll saturate myself with verses instead of hash-tags. I’ll study to show myself approved, instead of scrolling through things that will not impact my eternity.

The second fast, of giving up bad foods, has to do with my bad habit of gluttony. It is no secret-I LOVE FOOD. A lot. I have a particular fondness for pasta, and a constant craving for pastry/bakery items. Lately, however, I find myself more inclined to eat and less inclined to being productive. Proverbs 25:16 says that “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.”. Again, Proverbs 23:21 states “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.”. There’s nothing wrong with food. The Bible is full of feasts and harvests and meals. If you read Revelations, there will be a giant wedding feast in Heaven! But it’s the attitude of gluttony that is what I strive to break-the attitude of laziness and of greed. Also, the physical side effects of this is beginning to take it’s toll. I don’t have much time to exercise, so I need to continue to stay healthy and eat right. Eating right will also help me focus more, accomplish more in my day, and sleep better. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that “…whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”. Even my eating habits should honor God; the attitudes I foster in the little things become my ways of life. So I will begin not only to cut out excess crappy food, but to also begin eating healthier.

Speaking of habits, my last fast is from sleeping in and going to bed late. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a good Saturday lazy day. Lately, however, I have been doing a lot more harm than good by not getting up when I am supposed to. This is causing a few things to happen. First, I am not prepared for my day. The extra “sleep” actually makes me more tired, and leaves me in a bad mood. Going to bed late contributes to waking up late, trying to make up for lost time. This isn’t good. I am forever trying to catch up on sleep, and therefore my daily attitude suffers for it. Secondly (and tied to the first point) I lose out on my Godtime in the morning. David constantly is speaking of rising early to seek the Lord in prayer and worship. In Mark it accounts for even Jesus rising early to seek the Lord (Mark 1:35).  To start off the day with the Lord makes all the difference in my life. When I have done it, the day has gone much better for me than the days in which I procrastinate. If God is my everything, then starting off with Him sets a precedent for my day to be focused on Him! To help, I will also avoid going to bed late, when I can. Getting enough sleep is crucial for me right now, being in college. I need to develop healthy habits to keep for the rest of my life.

Paul says in Romans 12:3 says that “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”  This is what I plan to do-take a good honest look at myself, and who I am in Christ, and how I can better be serving Him. In the absence of the things I fast from, I shall place Christ front and center and let Him completely take over my life. Thus begins my 40 days in the wilderness. Just myself and the Lord. Detoxing from the things that hold me back, and relying on Him to provide my every need. I will be posting, when I feel led, on the things that He shows me as I seek His face. This is not for my glorification, but that of the Lord’s. To Him be all the glory and power and honor forever and ever! God bless.

I Want To Be: Ready and ABLE (A Study on David), Part Two

“Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!  47And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!”
-1 Samuel 17:46-47

I’ll be honest, I wish I had the strength and the faith to be able to say that. I am not at this level of just..confidence..that I can take on the giants. And yet I am, at the same time. It’s weird. I think that, what it really comes down to, as we talked about last time, was the readiness of David-at a moments’ notice-to go into battle for the Lord. To develop that mindset, to be ready in season and out of season, it takes time. I have no doubt I can get there; I very much want to. And you should too. So while I may not be there yet, in disciplining myself to be at that level I am, in effect, ready at all times. So with the help of the Lord, I can always give an answer for what I believe.
Isn’t that interesting? That God doesn’t call us to necessarily come to serve Him when we have achieved some X, Y, and Z list of goals that prove we are ready. He uses those who are willing to learn and willing to fight, even if they feel themselves inadequate. He will always give us what we need, but we have to be willing to try and to strive. And that was a huge factor in David’s life. He was ready, and God made him able.

Why is there a distinction between ready and able? it’s a matter of spiritual…readiness, for lack of a better term. Some people are completely ready to go all in for the Lord-but God has to temper their spirit, and show them a thing or two before they are able to do the work HE has for them. And others are very much equipped and blessed by the Lord to do His work, but aren’t ready to make that leap into His service. They are two sides of the same coin, because they go hand in hand. David was ready to serve the Lord-He dropped everything at the sight of injustice being done to His God. And he was also spiritually able enough to go into battle, because the Lord was with Him. Look at verses 32-37 (a long passage, but bear with me.)

32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” 33 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”

34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!””

I want to look at two things here: David’s able spirit in terms of the people, and the giant.

1. Being able to stand against the people

Saul never questions David’s willingness-his readiness-to go fight. What he questions is His ability to carry out the task at hand. The world may do the same thing to you-heck, even those who call themselves “Christians” may do the same thing whenever you face giants in your life. Nobody can question your readiness and willingness to fight. But everyone can plague you with doubt, asking if you’re really able to do this, if you’re able to deal with the pressure,

if you’re able to come up with the “right words” and “right speech” to win over that person,
if you’re able to muster up the courage to give a speech that centers around Christ at your school,
if you’re able to withstand the criticism and mockery of carrying around a bible at school all the time,
if you’re able to take on the criticism of giving most of your money to buy food for the poor,
if you’re able to deal with the world coming against you on whatever you do because inside, you know it’s what God wants.

if you’re able to deal with everyone coming against you because the “right” thing doesn’t fit in with what’s acceptable-in the world or in the church. What’s worse, is that everyone will try and tell you how you SHOULD be doing it. Saul, even when he consents, gives David his armor to go fight the giant. But David refuses it, because he already has a plan given by God. I’m not saying to refuse all counsel-advice from people who are deep in the Lord, or have been in similar situations, is good. But anyone who tells you something contrary to the word of God-the people in the world who say you shouldn’t do it, it’s not worth it; or those in the church who want you to soften your message, to fit in, to use this five-step plan instead, to use this gimmick, to not preach hell..those people do not deserve your ears. People may even have good sounding ideas. The armor wasn’t a bad idea; he was going to fight a giant. But, like the armor, that kind of advice can weigh you down and burden you in trying to do your work for the Lord.

And the thing is, on our own, we can’t be able. We can’t withstand these attacks and attempts to “help” and such things.
But Christ is able.

David says that he defeated the lion and the bear, but he says it was because the Lord was there with him.  On our own it’s so hard to not succumb to the pressures of this world, but with Christ we can stand up to everyone that tells us we aren’t gonna be able to accomplish what we set out to do. If we really are in God’s will, and doing what He would have us to do, nothing can stop us. He makes us able.

2. Being able to stand against the giant

As well as being able to stand up to people around you, God equips us to be able to stand against the giants in our lives as well. David went in there, not with the wisdom and the weapons the world tried to give to him, but literally with the belief that God already had the victory. This is one of the more trusting moments in the Bible-David, a strong man, but still completely unprotected versus a giant who had been fighting all the days of his life. But isn’t this how God works? He takes those who are seemingly unfit for the job and it turns out they are the only person for that job. God knows exactly what He is doing with you and I, no matter what situation we may be facing. It may seem like something that we have no clue how to deal with-we’re completely exposed and unprotected, and all we have is the fact that God is with us. Joshua 1:9 says that “9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”. It’s also mentioned numerous times throughout the Old Testament. It is a COMMAND that we not be afraid. With the Lord on our side, whom do we have to fear? Now, of course, being human, we do get afraid.

But I personally am striving to have a David attitude about situations. I don’t want to worry, I don’t want to be anxious anymore. Instead, I want to go right into the situation, following His lead. Like David says, the LORD rescues His people, but not with the conventional wisdom the world possesses. He does it in extraordinary ways, in mysterious fashion, to show everyone that He is God. I want to believe that and trust in that with everything in me, like David does. I want to be ready and willing to fight when need be, and I want to trust that God can give me whatever it is I need to be able to fight the good fight.

I want to be ready, and able, for my God.