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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Courage to Conquer Your Fears

What is your greatest fear, the giant in your life that robs you of peace and joy? Is it some physical ailment or mental turmoil?  Is it something that makes you feel ineffective in life? Does it cause depression, anxiety or even addiction. If so, the Bible offers us a great illustration of how we can overcome our fears in the story of David and Goliath.

Goliath was a behemoth of a man, standing 9 feet tall. He was a giant in his day. Clothed with brass mail armor, a shield of bronze, and a helmet that covered a good portion of his head and face, he would daily taunt the Israelis of the Old Testament. Everyone shook in fear when he appeared with his javelin strapped to his back, a huge sword hung from his hips and a thundering voice that defied anyone in the Israeli army to fight him (1 Samuel 7: 8-9). No one would, until a young shepherd boy, sent on an errand by his father, appeared. He heard Goliath's challenge “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other" (1 Samuel 17: 10).   

Courage whelmed up inside David. Why? Because he saw Goliath for who he really was, an unbelieving Philistine. Goliath was small in David's eyes compared to the God he knew, the living God (1 Samuel 17:21)  Nothing that Goliath could hurl his way--no doubts, lies, fears and anxieties could surpass the power of the living God to deliver David. He told Goliath, “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"  (1Samuel 17: 45-46).

So he faced the giant, not with the armor, sword and shield that Saul tried to put on him, but with 5 smooth stones that he was accustomed to using when defending his sheep from a bear and a lion. If we are to have success against our greatest fears, it's important to use tools we are comfortable with using. It needs to be a daily practice, not just a pot shot here and there, but part of who we are, such as praying, utilizing promises from the Word of God, positive affirmations or talking with a trusted friend. These are our tools and weapons, but we cannot stop there.

David then advanced on Goliath, ran to his problem, instead of running away. He stopped, picked up the smooth  stone, aimed carefully and flung it at the head of the giant. It struck him right in the head and Goliath fell over. So we must know our weapons, whether spiritual or earthly, yet we also need to advance on our enemy, our problems and fears. If we do not, they will linger and attack us when we least expect. We need to size them up for what they are, see God as able to help us and able to conquer. Use what God has given us (the tools as stated above) then take careful aim. Train our eye to see the enemies' weakness (which may be our own self doubt and fears) and aim our weapons straight at the problem. Hit the proverbial nail on the head.

While David had perfect aim because he was aided by God and had previous practice killing a bear and a lion, we might need to do this a number of times. We might be required to stand in faith for certain issues and fears to be resolved, but never give up hope. The Bible encourages us to hope in the living God. Though the story doesn't end here. Not only did David topple the giant, he ran up to him and cut off his head.

While this might appear gruesome to many of us, if we look at it figuratively we'll understand the importance. Once the enemy, the problem is stunned, weakened, cut it off completely. Don't let the enemy, such as anger, bitterness or fear, get back on its feet. Take the sword out of its sheath and kill it completely. Know the Word of God and use it like a sword to cut away the fleshly habit, practice or sin. Then like David, let others know the great work God has done for you! Display it for others to see the glory of God. To summarize, here are the key points:

·        See the enemy (problems, fears etc) as small and powerless in comparison to God's great power
·        Arm yourself daily with weapons you can wield-prayer, study, affirmations etc.
·        Practice with them: Use them to destroy lesser issues
·        Run to greet your enemy (problems)
·        Don't turn your back on them, but meet them
·        Take careful aim: know your enemy and its weakness
·        Once weakened, cut it off completely
·        Let your life declare the work of God, show off what He has done for you!