Thursday, August 11, 2011

Use Your Own Weapons

David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."

Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth."

But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep.  When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.  When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine."

Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you."

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic.  He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.  David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. 

"I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them.  So he took them off.  Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.  (I Samuel 17:32-40)

       The Bible, as it conveys the epic tale of David and Goliath that many know from childhood, tells us that once King Saul released David with a blessing to fight Goliath, he dressed David in his own tunic and gave him some articles from his personal armamentarium.  David tried walking around with this garb, but quickly realized that it didn't fit and that it would actually be a hindrance when he fought the giant.  He expressed this to Saul, removed it all, and straightway chose out of a nearby stream five smooth stones and placed them in his pouch.  The stones, along with a slingshot, became David's entire weaponry that he would use successfully against Goliath.

       We Christians today find ourselves precariously surrounded by giants, just like the Israelites did.  Unfortunately the giants we face are invisible to the naked eye and yet they're just as dangerous and terrifying as Goliath was to Israel.  Giants of sickness, financial ruin, joblessness, addictions of all kinds, unhealthy and perverted relationships, divorce, betrayal, abuse, depression, to name a few of the many, often leave us frightened and impotent.  Like the fighting men of Israel who endured great taunting at the voice of an immensely huge enemy, we find ourselves cowering in the shadows hoping these monsters will soon disappear.  There is good news for the believer, however.

       Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!  "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 8:37-39)  Regardless of whether your enemy is "external" such as unemployment, or if it's "internal" such as battling demonic influences, your victory was assured when Jesus died on Calvary's cross!  This an irrefutable fact!  BUT, there a catch that many saints miss.

       Though Christ guaranteed our victory by His death, burial and resurrection, we cannot sit idly by.  We must fight for what has been given to us.  Jesus said, "And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize--a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion]."  (Matthew 11:12, AMP)  God gave victory to David before he fought Goliath, however David had to fight the battle in order to receive the blessing.  Obviously, Goliath didn't just automatically die.

       We saints must battle valiantly against our giants, and for that which is ours in Christ.  Moreover, God has given us weapons to use so that we can always win!  He has given us the Word (Bible) so we may discern and discover truth.  We have praise which leaves the enemy defeated and confused.  (Read II Chronicles 20:22-23 of how God confused the enemy that rose up against King Jehoshaphat after the king appointed men to praise the Lord before and during the battle.)  The Lord has opened up the heavenly places in Christ allowing us to directly communicate with Him.  Prayer is powerful.  There are other weapons given God's people as well.  The Apostle Paul writes, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."  (II Corinthians 10:4)

       Most importantly, it is crucial to understand that the weaponry we utilize is ours and ours alone!  We cannot use someone else's weapons to fight our personal spiritual battles!  (This does not mean that the Lord cannot give someone else a word for your situation.  He can and does do that, however that would be an exception rather than the rule.)  David could not use King Saul's armor or any of his weapons to fight Goliath.  As the scripture clearly indicates, Saul's protective weaponry would have been more impedance than help.  So, what does this all mean for us as believers today?

       The Lord gives us weapons to use against the enemy such as the Word, prayer, praise, etc.  Further, He expects us to use them, otherwise we will exist in total defeat throughout this earthly existence or worse yet, our lives may be shortened unnecessarily!  (Proverbs 3:16; 10:27; and there are many others!)  AND, God the Holy Spirit desires to teach us how to use these weapons effectively as we spend time with Him in communion.  Consequently, they become our personal armaments, tailor-made exclusively for each individual and for no one else.  Simply, I cannot use your weapons; you cannot use mine, even though they are the same in nature.

       Far too many believers today try to "ride to heaven" on the wings (successes) of others.  Paradoxically, they spend an inordinate amount of time getting others to pray for them to the utter exclusion of praying for themselves.  They may even seek a word from someone else regarding their personal circumstances when the Lord Himself would gleefully give them the word they need and desire.  Beloved, please don't misunderstand.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with saints helping each other.  Indeed, we are to pray one for another, and bear one another's burdens in real life as well as in the prayer closet.  (Please refer to Galatians 6:2, Ephesians 6:18-19, James 5:14-16, just to name a few.)  With this in mind however, we must all take individual reponsibility for our own spiritual well-being.  This cannot be evaded or forfeited to someone else.

       When God was commissioning Joshua, He wanted Joshua to realize that He could not in the least rely on Moses because He was dead.  (Joshua 1:1-2)  Joshua had to pick up the torch and fulfill the divine plan which was to take Israel across the Jordan in the Promised Land.  He would have to take personal responsibility and accountability.  There was no one other than God upon whom Joshua could rely.  Jesus tells the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins, found in Matthew 25:1-13.  The moment of reckoning had come; the bridegroom was getting ready to arrive.  The five foolish virgins had no extra oil so they approached the five wise virgins and asked for some of theirs.  The wise virgins were prepared and desired to remain that way so they refused to lend their oil for fear of running out, and rightly so!  While the foolish virgins went to get more oil, the bridegroom came.  (They had been lax with maintaining their supply of weapons, if you will.)  Sadly, these foolish ones were excluded from the marital festivities.

       The message is clear.  David had a slingshot and five smooth stones.  He could not use King Saul's weapons to battle Goliath.  Ultimately, when the "rubber meets the road," we cannot rely on others to spiritually sustain us or fight our battles.  We must develop a relationship with Jesus, our Savior, and allow Him by way of God's Spirit to teach us how to use the weapons He has already issued us.  We will therefore then be totally equipped for battle against the giants in our lives.  No less importantly, we will be ready and able to assist other believers as they develop and learn to use their spiritual weapons.  Together in this ongoing warfare, we will present as the unified, undefeatable Church Triumphant of the Lord Jesus Christ, conquering all of our foes.  "They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers.  They all march in line, not swerving from their course.  They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead.  They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks.  They rush upon the city; they run along the wall...."  (Joel 2:7-9)

No comments:

Post a Comment