Why your Goliath … must fall

Remember…

“God has not given me a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and of sound judgment”.  2 Timothy 1:7

“Courage is looking fear in the eye and saying, “Get out of my way, I’ve got something to do”

“My prayer is when I die, that all hell rejoices that I am out of the fight”.  CS Lewis

A snake can be dead but still be deadly.  Satan has been defeated but even though he has been defeated, he still has power to do damage if we put ourselves in a vulnerable position i.e. if we make a misstep.

Jimmy Evans said it last week – the roaring lion is trying to produce in you a mistake that will then give him an opportunity.

He’s just trying to get you to take the bait.

If there is a giant in your life that demoralizes you and steals God’s glory from your life addiction, rejection, fear, comfort, needing approval of others God wants that giant to fall.  Jesus has defeated the giants and He opens a way for us to walk in victory and freedom.

The things that demoralize us – “I will always be a failure” – they steal our joy and more importantly, they rob God’s glory in my life by preventing me from being all God created me to be.

James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Anyone who has been taught, “come to God and it will be smooth sailing” has been told a lie.  The people of God left bondage, the Red Sea parted and later, they crossed over a dry Jordan river to enter the Promised Land.  They saw the 7-story walls of Jericho fall but guess what?  The next day? Another city to conquer.  Another giant.  Another adversary.  Every day was another day to remember God’s faithful deliverance over past giants and to trust him into the days forward.

Just because we’re in Christ doesn’t mean we’re not in a battle.  You get into a season and things are going pretty well and you turn a corner and boom, anxiety is standing there 45-feet tall.  Where did that come from?

Even though we have the power of Jesus, we can still be paralyzed by our giants.  We talked about fear last week. It can be debilitating.  Goliath taunted them for 40 days and 40 nights.  In reality, Goliath was taunting their God.  When we are demoralized, we can’t be all God intends for us to be.

2 big ideas …

First, Jesus is David in this story.  It isn’t us.  It’s not about us rising up, it is about Christ.  The story sets up an even greater battle than shepherd boy vs. giant.  It is the ultimate battle where Jesus takes on death, hell and sin.

David steps up.  David knew Goliath had to fall not just so the people can be free, but that God can get the glory He deserves.  An angry person cannot stop his anger.  Christ can.  Transformation can come if we step back and let Jesus work.  The glory points to Him, not us.

Second, David wasn’t just motivated by his safety and freedom.  What motivated him was the glory and fame of God.  Even as a boy, David would play his instrument and worship God.  He had a special relationship with God, “Who am I when I consider the works you have done?”

He knew God’s power could take down the giant – “You come at me with a spear, a javelin and a sword but I come at you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel whom you have taunted.”  1 Samuel 17:45

What switched in David was he saw it was his God being taunted.  He fought for God’s glory. Unless this happens in us, we’re never going to be truly free of these giants that intimidate and demoralize us.

We accommodate things that kill us and kill those around us.  We stunt our growth and we’ll never fully become what God wants us to become.  It must shift from “yes, I want to be free” but also, “I want God to get all the glory”.  I didn’t beat this giant in my life, God did.  I didn’t overcome this addiction by my power, but God did it by His power.

How do these giants come down?

A shift of focus.  What our eyes see, directs our mouths.  They saw giants and said “fear”.  David saw the power of God and went on the offensive.  We spend too much time worshiping the giants in our lives i.e. talking about how much power they have… “Sally’s anxiety. John’s anger, Dad’s alcoholism” – we end up worshiping them, talking them up, giving power to them.  If we live with our giant and his foot planted on our neck, the people around us won’t see God in our lives.

We need to shift our focus from the size of the giant to the power of the Lord.  I’m not going to fix it anyway.  Only God.  I need to stop believing in the power of my giants and to start believing the power of the Lord God Almighty who can break every chain.

We don’t seek to minimize the crippling, debilitating effects of our giants – but – we have a choice to make … will I lift my eyes up higher than 9 feet?

9 feet?  Sure, that’s big but I’ve come to know a God WAY bigger than that!  “Hey giant, sure you’re big but I’m coming at you with the name of the Lord God Almighty and you’re going down”.

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Exposing the roaring lion of fear

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will ever harm you.”   Luke 10:19

We have authority over him.

1 Peter – he prowls around seeking who he may devour – “may” not “can”. i.e. we’ve given him permission, an opening.

60% of believers don’t believe in the enemy – they have no grasp they’re being stalked.

Be sober, be alert … means stay disciplined.  The areas I let get out of control, are the areas where the attack will come.  He’s your adversary whether you like it or not.

He’s active. He’s coming to your territory trying to produce in you a mistake that will then give him an opportunity.  Do I fear him?  No.  But I should understand him.

Lions are nocturnal – you’re safe in the day but not at night.  It’s dangerous at night.  Darkness is the devil’s domain.  You’re safe in the light.  Sin is his domain and you can’t cast him off it.

Ephesians 5:9-15 (Instructions for believers)“Walk as children of light – for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.  Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead, expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret.  Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is the light.  Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk – not as unwise people but as wise – making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”

Where two or more are gathered in His name, there Christ shall also be – i.e. don’t be a lone ranger.  Surround yourself with Godly people.  The devil will come at you but he won’t see you, he’ll see Jesus because they are in the spiritual realm.

You’re safe in Christian fellowship.  Satan is trying to provoke you to break off on your own.  Lions don’t attack the herd, they intimidate to try to get a weak one to break off alone.

Lions are territorial – don’t run from lions, they’ll kill you.  The purpose of the roar is to intimidate you so you’ll run away from his territory.

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”  There is good fear – see a rattlesnake and fear appears, you heed the warning and move away and the fear subsides.  That fear is temporary, protective and circumstantial.  It comes, it goes, it protects you.

Bad fear is chronic and debilitating – that is not from God.  It is a controlling spirit by the devil to keep us off our promised land.  It’s not my emotion.  It’s a demonic spirit trying to keep me off what God has promised me.  Once I stop dealing with fear as my emotion and my weakness and I begin to understand that is a separate identity from me, I can begin to take authority over it.  It comes saying “you’re going to fail, you’re going to embarrass yourself…” it tries to intimidate.

So, when that spirit of fear comes, what are we to do?

“I bind you spirit of fear in the name of Jesus and every lie you’re telling me.  You’re a demon spirit and you’re on my territory.  You’re standing on my promised land.  Not only am I not going to give you this land, I’m taking it back from you.”

You have a promised land.  It is a God-given destiny and as sure as you have that destiny, there is an enemy standing on your land roaring at you, screaming, “you’re not good enough, smart enough … who do you think you are?”  He’s stealthy.  He implants this fear but doesn’t tell us it is him – he makes us think it is us.  I’m fearful of people, I’m fearful of failure, I’m fearful of what other people think, I’m fearful of rejection”NO, you are NOT.  God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear.  It’s an add-on from the devil to try to control you.

It is time to expose the roaring lion and understand what he is up to. It’s time to take our land back. We have authority over him. Don’t run. Attack him. Run to the roar. He’s already been defeated. Kick him off your promised land and live your life as God intended you to live. Make a stand against a spirit of fear.

Prayer to break the power of fear …

“In the name of Jesus, I don’t have fear.  I’m not going to run from you.  I’m taking my territory back from you right now.  You’re standing on my promised land and I won’t rest until I have it back and you’re gone.  I bind your voice.  I bind your lies.  I bind your influence and in their place, I pray for a spirit of love, of power, and of sound mind.  God give me a spirit of love.  I want to be motivated by love, power and your wisdom.  I declare victory right now.  The devil will not devour me.  I’m the child of Almighty God.  I’m invested with divine authority and wherever I go, you go with me Lord Jesus.  Help me fulfill my perfect destiny in You. From today forward, when I hear that roar, I will run toward it and take authority over it and claim my promised land in Jesus name.”

Fear – how are you doing against it?

In the past week, how have you done battling fear in your life.  Is it there?  Do you even recognize it?  If you’re willing to take a look, I think you’ll be able to see places where fear has seized some of your territory and robbed you of life.

You have a Promised Land.  A divine plan for your life and fear is out to take that Promised Land away from you.  In many cases, it already has.

We’re going to take it back.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, of love and of sound judgment.”  2 Timothy 1:7

“I fear what other people think about me”.  “I fear I won’t succeed.”  “I’m fearful of failure.  “I’m fearful of rejection.”  NO you are NOT.  God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear.  It’s an add-on from the devil and he’s trying to control you.

We’re going after the roaring lion of fear this fall at ManSchool and we’ve got a great talk on Wednesday that will bless you life, break down walls and show you the way to say “ENOUGH” to fear.  It will open the path so you can take back your Promised Land and live the life God intended for you to live.

what are you waiting for?

here are the slides from today > Goliath 3

Run the race … What is slowing you down or tripping you up?  It is time to strip off everything that is weighing you down.  In life, you only get to run once, so run to win.  To avoid stumbling and losing the race, don’t look back.  You can’t change the past but you can learn from it.  Don’t be anxious for about the next lap, focus on the next step.  Older and wiser people have come to understand their burdens are of no real importance.  We waste our strength extinguishing fires that if left alone would burn out on their own.  Time is your most valuable resource.  Save it and you’ve increased assets and decreased liabilities.  Travel light.  Ditch the baggage of self-sabotaging habits and pointless fears.  There enough painful trials in life; why endure the ones you can strip off?  You can never know how successful you can be until you get rid of the things that slow you down and trip you up.

Erwin McManus’ new book is the called The Last Arrow – save nothing for the next life.  He reminds us in this video that too many of us have equated the word “faith” with safety.  Nowhere in Scripture are we taught that as followers of Christ that our life will be safe.  If that’s the goal, that’s inward thinking — that life and faith is suddenly about me, my life, my comfort, my safety, etc.  Faith in Christ is risky and yet full of adventure but it begins with steps of faith and great courage…

Too many of us are so afraid of death that we never live, so afraid of failure that we never risk, so afraid of pain that we never discover  how strong we really are.

For me, fear is rampant.  The very nature of my work is risky.  Many things I simply cannot control.  I am daily at risk of simply being wrong, at risk of a client saying, “Enough.  You don’t know what you’re doing.  I’m firing you”.  That fear has hung over me like a sword.  The overwhelming message I heard this past summer was on “fear”.  Fear is pervasive in our society and in religion.  It is the design of an enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy.  He’s trying to steal your confidence.  Kill your desire to live and destroy your life.

How about you?  How much fear is in your life today?  Fear of failing?  Of being “found out” as a fake and a poser?  Fear of reaching for that next promotion?  Fear that you don’t have what it takes?  Fear of your wife?  Dig deep here.  Ask Father.

How do we combat this?  By the Word.  Yes, I am pressured in every way, but I am not crushed.  I am perplexed but not in despair.  Struck down but not destroyed.  (2 Corinthians 4:7-8).

I KNOW the cost of the Cross.  God paid it ALL for me.  Christ emptied Himself … for me.  I KNOW what HE thinks of me … “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  I know He delights in me and that I am His beloved son.

Sure, I will make mistakes in my career.  Yes, no doubt, I will lose clients for a variety of reasons.  BUT … it does not define me.  What defines me is Christ.  He determines my worth, not man.  If I rest in this, trust in this, believe this then I have no fear.  Say it again, no man will define my worth.  Christ defines what I’m worth and to Him, I’m worth it all.

McManus asks us, “If you’re not where you want to be, why do you keep choosing to stay where you are?  If you know there is a future waiting for you, why do you choose to stay in the past?  It is time to move past what God will do “For you” and to what God wants to do “Through you”. 

It is time to stop being a lake that stores up all the resources for your consumption and instead to become a river that flows those resources downstream to rescue others.  It is time to LiveUP and LiveOutward (excurvatus) for others.  Once I no longer fear man, I can then go battle for man.  Jesus calls us.  “Don’t weep for Me!  Join Me!”  He poured Himself out as an offering.  We are also called to do the same.

Which man will you be…

Inward?  Bruised and deeply wounded, you curve into self, living by fear and addiction.  You move away from others.  Seeking gratification in all you consume, having your needs met and your pain medicated?

Outward?  Restored and knowing I am delighted in by Father, I move outward towards others.  I have no fear.  Self dies.  There is no need to pose anymore.  No need to medicate.  I am who I am.  I’m a river flowing life to others.

Which man will you be?

Harrison gave us a great testimony of what Authentic Manhood looks like.  He is leading his family.  One income, the budget is tight but there are no financial secrets.  He and his wife talk and are open about their finances.  He’s praying.  She is praying.  He heard Father saying “pick up your sword” and discovered that meant, give this money away, trust Me.  Bravely, he came home to tell Stephanie and she said, “Let’s do this”.  She trusts his leadership.  It’s beautiful.  Do you see why he talked this morning?  Fear, yes of course but it is temporary fear which he rose above by trusting Father.  Stepping up to lead his wife?  Yes.  Bold?  Yes.  Risk?  Yes.  Courage?  Yes.  THAT is faith.  It is NOT safe but it leads to beautiful, marvelous freedom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

the giving tree …

slides from today > Goliath 2

The giants we face – fear, rejection, comfort, anger, addiction, self – all are designed to knock us into an “inward life”.  That wrapped up in our fear or our desire for comfort, we are curving in upon ourselves.  It’s exactly what the enemy wants you to do.

It’s a small life.  It may be safe to be wrapped up in seeking your comfort in the safety of your four walls – but it is a very small life.  There is an old saying, “A ship in the harbor is safe but that isn’t what ships are built for” … your life has a grander purpose than “self”.  As a believer in Christ, the call upon your life is very much a call outward.

We are going to spend this fall going after the giants in our lives.  Jesus has already slayed all the giants.  The work is done.  It is finished.  That said, we don’t live in Eden.  We live in a swamp and the enemy is still trying to take you down and one of his worst tricks is to hammer you with fear, rejection, addiction, etc. to try to defeat you and drive you into hiding.  You are made for more.

First point – It starts with what you’re worth.  From Todd White’s talk at Gateway Church …

Accepted into the beloved means you can never be rejected by man.  The enemy is trying to dominate your thoughts, your thinking, your mind, will and emotions to keep you from seeing your creative value and seeing the price that heaven paid for you.  The Cross isn’t just the revelation of your sin, it is the revealing of your value.  That song “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the Cross.”  No.  I need to know the cost because that price determines my value.

If God paid it all for me, then I am valuable.  If I see my value, I will never look in the mirror and say “worthless” again.  No, I am worth the blood of Jesus.

Jesus didn’t pay the price for me to then go hide in four walls.  He paid a price for me be a warrior and conduit to destroy hell.

You need to be reminded of your worth.  Think of your wife – think of how she looks at herself in the mirror every day or what scrolling through social media does to her heart.  She hears the whispers of “worthless” daily.  You battle this in your fight for her heart.  She isn’t worthless … she is priceless.  God paid it all for her.  The same is true for you.  God doesn’t see you as worthless, He sees you as HIS beloved son.  It’s going to be very hard to do all you can do for the Kingdom if you’re walking around constantly repeating the lies of the enemy that you have no value.  You do.

Erwin McManus reminds us from his new book, The Last Arrow

We can become so afraid of death that we never live, so afraid of failure that we never risk, so afraid of pain that we never discover how strong we really are. Too many of us believe the lies we have been told; that we’re not good enough, we’re not strong enough, we’re not talented enough… that we’re just not enough. But one of the facets of God that makes him extraordinary is his ability to do the impossible through ordinary, everyday, common people.

You cannot follow Jesus into your future if you’re holding onto your past.

From there, we flow to the second point – it’s time to lead

We frequently hear men can’t have authentic, real, deep relationships with other men.  We hear that women do community better than men.  Men will often say, “My wife knows Scripture, I don’t” and “She prays, I don’t”.   Men, those giants MUST fall.  It is time to lead.  Those statements are lies from the enemy.  I’m going to tell you that as good as women are at community, frankly, I think men can actually do it better than women.  We can actually go deeper, be more frank/candid and we can warrior for our brothers in ways women can’t.  We need to stop believing true “Tribe” can’t be done.  I’m telling you from personal experience, real, deep, authentic Tribe is doable and it is rich and it can change your life.

Maybe you don’t read the Bible or journal Scriptures.  Maybe you don’t really pray.  Maybe she has been to every Beth Moore Bible study ever held (!) … but … that doesn’t mean you can’t do this.  You can.  Today should be the day you turn this the other day.  Today is the day you pick up your Bible and start.  Today is the day you can go home and tell your wife that you’d like to pray for her and your kids.  Don’t hesitate.  This isn’t about perfection, it is about progress …

William Lawrence wrote, “On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to wait, and waiting … died!”

Don’t hesitate.  Do it.  Spiritual growth is about progress, not perfection.   Take the step.   Make progress.

Understand this, Satan will try to discourage you and defeat you by making you feel overwhelmed by the problem. You may not be able to overcome your addiction or anxiety or fear for the rest of your life, but with God’s help you can win the battle todayYou CAN lead your family today!

And to the third point – not what God can do [for] you but rather [through] you

“If you’re not where you want to be, why do you keep choosing to stay where you are? If you know there is a future waiting for you, why do you choose to stay in the past? It is time to move past what God will do for you and to what God will do through you.”          Erwin McManus – The Last Arrow

Which leads us to The Giving Tree.  Will you live incurvatus, curved in upon self?  Or will you live Excurvatus … that is a “life lived outward” for others?  Jesus didn’t die for you to be safe and comfortable.  He died that you might “die”.  Consider this from Brennan Manning’s The Furious Longing of God …

Jesus Christ has irreparably changed the world. When preached purely, His Word exalts, frightens, shocks, and forces us to reassess our whole life. The gospel breaks our train of thought, shatters our comfortable piety, and cracks open our capsule truths. The flashing spirit of Jesus Christ breaks new paths everywhere. His sentences stand like quivering swords of flame because He did not come to bring peace, but a revolution. The gospel is not a children’s fairy tale, but rather a cutting-edge, rolling-thunder, convulsive earthquake in the world of the human spirit.

By entering human history, God has demolished all previous conceptions of who God is and what man is supposed to be. We are, suddenly, presented with a God who suffers crucifixion. This is not the God of the philosophers who speak with cool detachment about a Supreme Being. A Supreme Being would never allow spit on His face.

It is jarring indeed to learn that what through in His passion and death is meant for us too: that the invitation He extends is “Don’t weep for Me! Join Me!” The life He has planned for Christians is a life much like He lived. He was not poor that we might be rich. He was not mocked that we might be honored. He was not laughed at so that we could be lauded.

Once or twice in a lifetime, you hear a story that leaves an indelible mark on your heart and mind. Such is this story I first heard in 1967. It is Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.

“Once there was a tree… and she loved a little boy.” And so begins the story of a tree being happy because she is able to make the boy happy. At first the boy desires nothing but to climb on her branches, eat her apples, and lie in her shade.

But as the boy grows, so do his desires. But because of the tree’s love, she gives her apples for him to sell for money to have real fun; her branches that he might build a house for a wife and family; and her trunk so he could build a boat and sail away from the boredom of life.

And then one day, the prodigal returns to the tree that loves him. By now, she has given him everything; all that remains of her is an old stump. The boy, now an old man, needs only a quiet place to sit and rest. And the Giving Tree gives once more.”

Ever since hearing that story many years ago, I’ve loved Silverstein’s parable. It reminds me of Jesus, of whom Paul wrote in Philippians, “He emptied Himself”. He cried from his heart, nails in His hands, and poured out His blood that we might believe His love for us. Significantly, Jesus chose the giving tree, His cross, as the demonstrative sign of His absolutely furious love for us.

How is it then that we’ve come to imagine that Christianity consists primarily in what do for God? How has this come to be the good news of Jesus? Is the Kingdom that He proclaimed to be nothing more than a community of men and women who go to church on Sunday, take an annual spiritual retreat, read their Bibles every now and then, vigorously oppose abortion, don’t watch x-rated movies, never use vulgar language, smile a lot, hold doors open for people and get along with everybody?

Is that why Jesus went through the bleak and bloody horror of Calvary? Is that why He emerged in shattering glory from the tomb? Is that why He poured out His Holy Spirit on the church? To make nicer men and women with better morals?

The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creations. Not to make better people with better morals, but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friends, is what it means to be a Christian. Our religion never begins with what we do for God. It always starts with what God has done for us, the great and wondrous things that God dreamed of and achieved for us in Jesus Christ.

And lastly and most importantly, this reminder about our Savior as the role model for our lives …

“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death upon a cross.”

2 Philippians 2:5-8

MORE ON ALL OF THIS NEXT WEEK as we’re going to unpack this in greater detail.  Please do all you can to go hard after this material this week.  Read it.  Pray it.  Have many conversations with Father about it.  Some amazing things are about to happen.  Men in our midst are right on the verge of a breakthrough.  Come Lord Jesus, come.