FIRST-PERSON: Facing the 'giants' in our lives
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- There's something about "giants" that intrigues us, whether we're talking about movies and television shows, or books like "Gulliver's Travels," or fairy tales like "Jack and the Beanstalk."
In popular stories, these giants are clearly symbols of our own challenges in life. Sometimes we seem so small in the face of adversity that our problems can appear giant-sized. We need to believe we can slay the giants in our lives.
Giants in the Bible
You don't need sci-fi movies for that. The Bible will do just fine, thank you. It's full of giants; and the giants of Scripture aren't supernatural monsters or science fiction images. There were ancient tribes of humans who were, well, big. Goliath was nine feet tall. The Bible introduces us to him in the Valley of Elah, taunting the armies of Israel and defying the people of the living God. Everything about him was intimidating. He was a champion of evil, and day after day he challenged the Israelites: "Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me."
King Saul was "dismayed and greatly afraid" (1 Samuel 17:11), and he made the mistake of comparing himself with the giant instead of comparing the giant with God. Arriving on the scene, the young sheepherder, David, sized up the situation, compared the giant with God, and determined with God's help, he could defeat Goliath.
Giants, ancient and modern
Goliath represents all the giants we face in our lives today. We need to face the fact that those giants taunt us today just as in ancient times.
-- The giant of fear. Advice columnist Ann Landers was asked if a common denominator linked the letters she received, and she said that the one overriding theme was fear. People are afraid of what is happening, what might happen, what will happen, and the effects of it all. With God we can overcome the giant of fear.
-- The giant of discouragement. Due to the recent economic problems in our nation, many people have encountered the giant of discouragement. We need to resist the intrusion this giant presents to our peace of mind, and instead look to God for consolation and provision.
-- The giant of loneliness. On every side we see lonely senior citizens, lonely singles, lonely spouses, lonely survivors, lonely sufferers, and lonely servants of God. The giant of loneliness taunts many people each day, but God comforts and relieves the lonely.
-- The giant of worry. Physician Charles Mayo called worry the "disease of doubt" that can affect the circulation, the heart, the glands and the whole nervous system. Perhaps you're battling this Goliath right now.
-- The giant of guilt. Genuine guilt is an honest friend that leads us to the blood of Christ, but there are two deadly kinds of guilt: (1) Lingering guilt over sins long ago confessed and nailed to the cross of Jesus; and (2) False guilt over things for which we bear no responsibility. These are giants to be confronted and conquered by the power of the blood of Christ.
-- The giant of temptation. Too many times during my ministry, I've seen how the giant of temptation can, in only a few moments, tear down a reputation that it's taken a lifetime to build. We have to learn to consistently and constantly resist this enemy. He has no power over us unless we yield to his demands.
And there are many others. Goliath has a lot of kid brothers who taunt us -- the giants of anger, resentment, doubt, procrastination, failure and jealousy. Are any of these enemies in your personal Valley of Elah right now?
We're living in the Land of the Giants. We're on tough terrain. Like most giants, Goliath was a bully who thought he was invincible, but whose demise was inevitable. He thought he was facing a shepherd boy, but he was really nose-to-nose with that shepherd boy's Almighty God.
And if God is for us, who can be against us? That's why it's time to stop comparing ourselves with the giants, and start comparing the giants with God.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of "Turning Point for God" and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).