When I was 18 years old I was sitting in a room in a little brown house on the edge of the land where my childhood summer camp was. I was enjoying getting to know the new counselors that summer. At some point, a 15-year-old girl walked in and sat down in a recliner across from the couch where I sat. She was wearing shorts and a tank top and had long hair. We may or may not have been introduced in that moment.
Little did I know that would be a defining moment in my life. That was the first time i laid eyes on the girl that would one day become my wife and the mother of my child.
When I was 36 I was sitting in my cubicle doing a job that gave me zero satisfaction. I’d worked for that company for 8 and half years. I felt stuck and hopeless. I gave it all up to God and in that moment, I let go of my plans and hopes and trusted that God had it under control. Two hours later I was called into an office in the Human Resources departments and was laid off.
I left that building both scared and excited. Another defining moment in my life. In a single act, God erased something that was holding me back.
Looking back now though, I realize that he used that 8 and a half years to prepare me for what was to come.
We don’t always get to know when the defining moments will occur, but sometimes…sometimes we face a choice that can change the course of history.
There once was a boy named David. We all know the story, right?
The Philistines were on the attack. Israel was standing before them. For 40 days Goliath put fear into the hearts of the Israelites…
1 Samuel 17:8-11
Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.
No one wanted to face the giant. They knew it was suicide to even attempt to fight.
David was sent to bring food for his older brother. But, when he saw what was happening, he had to make a choice.
1 Samuel 17:26
David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
David believed without a doubt that God was the king who reigned over all and that the nation of Israel was God’s chosen people. He knew that no man, no matter how big could defeat the God who created the universe.
Goliath might have seemed impossible to beat to man, but he was nothing against God.
So it was easy for David to make the choice. He knew he couldn’t beat Goliath himself, but that God could use him to overcome the giant.
1 Samuel 17:32-37
“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”
“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.”
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, 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. 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!
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!”
David went out. He found those 5 smooth stones that had been laying in the stream. How long must have God been preparing those stones for their intended purpose?
1 Samuel 17:45-51
…“You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 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! And 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!”
As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.
So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head.
Most of us have probably heard this story. It’s one about faith and determination. It’s about trusting God not giving in to the fears in our lives.
But it has become a children’s story; a cartoon or a caricature on a wall in a Sunday school class, and when we become adults we often forget about the power of this story. Sadly, it is when we are adults that we need this story the most.
We all face giants in our life. They come in the form of broken marriages, job situations, finances, addiction, pornography, fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness, lust and on and on.
Our giants seem impossible to overcome.
They convince us that our problems are the worst problems and that no one would understand so we’d better just keep them locked up and hidden away. Maybe if we pretend they aren’t there, then they will go away. Or, worse yet, they become a part of who we are and we try to accept the fact that we will never beat the giants in our life so we just try to learn to live with them.
Our giants taunt us.
It’s starts when we first wake up in the morning, those whispers that remind us of all of our failures. The voices of our past that remind us that we are not good enough, and that we will never be good enough.
But our giants, like Goliath, are nothing when set against the power of God.
I want to challenge you who have already overcome the giants in your life.
First off, I commend you. I am still fighting the giants in my life, but trust that I am on the road to victory. I challenge you to use your victory to help someone else. The army of Israel and all the Philistine’s witnessed the power of the Lord at work when David took down that giant.
Allow others to see your victory so that God’s name can be glorified. Take away the excuses that people make and help them move towards victory.
I want to challenge you who are still struggling against your giants to not give up the fight.
As long as there is breath in your body, there is opportunity for you to trust in the Lord to defeat the giants in your life. You do not need to regret not defeating your giants in the past. If you can read this, you can still live victoriously because God is bigger than whatever it is you are facing.
You can defeat that addiction. You can forgive that person. You don’t have to be afraid. You are not alone.
I want to challenge you who have given up on fighting your giants; you who have allowed your addiction and your fear to become a normal part of your life.
There is still hope. There is still time. Inside of you is the same power that brought Jesus back from the dead. The same power that David called upon to defeat Goliath is inside you right now. Call upon it. Use it. Turn back towards God.
Regardless of our age, whether we are just starting out in life, or whether we are nearing the end. We are all here together. God has us all here for a purpose. This is not the time to give up. You and I should be fighting against the enemy harder than ever before. Let us trust in the power of God to sleigh the giants in our lives and showing others how to live a victorious life. All of us, young and old, have a responsibility to shine the light of the Lord as brightly as we can right up until the moment he calls us home.
David could have listened to his brother and his friends. He could have taken Saul's advice. He could have gone back to the fields and worked and no one ever would have questioned it. But David knew he had a responsibility to follow in what he felt God had called him to do. And on that day, David chose God over man. Every day has the potential to be a defining moment in our life. Today, will you choose to believe that God is who he says he is, and follow him, or will you choose to listen to the world; to those who would have you give up and give in?