Never Trade Your Faith for Armor
God has given each of us natural abilities to help us walk through life, but He never intended for us to be solely reliant on them. If we looked only at our natural abilities, we'd be at a deficit many times. His grace, however, moves the focus from my ability to Christ’s provision. And that is how we slay our giants.
1 Samuel 17:33-40 (NAS) -- “Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So, David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.”
Saul appraised David's chances of success from a natural perspective rather than the supernatural experiences David had with God.
This exchange between Saul and David was about more than a difference of opinion; it was a clash between natural and spiritual. It was the conflict that results from having to choose between what I can do and the Spirit’s impact. Each of us is going to experience our own Saul and David encounter. It’s during these moments of consequence when we must choose which tools we will use to tackle the circumstances we face. All too often our default is to grab our armor – our understanding, ability or training. This may prevail in dealing with the molehills of life; but it will prove insufficient in dealing with mountains.
Saul appraised David’s chances of success from a natural perspective. Looking at David’s lack of training, his age, and the fact that he was not a military man left Saul with the belief that David didn’t have what was required to be victorious. Any time we appraise ourselves through a natural filter we are going to notice our deficits. The reason that we have grace is that it opens to us options that were not previously available. Grace moves the focus from my ability to Christ’s provision. It was a truth that Jesus lived by: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do”(John 5:19). We carry the life of God wrapped in flesh; it is the supernatural and divine inhabiting a fleshly temple. Living from this space changes everything. When I live from His influence as opposed to my skill set and training, I discover potential that is not available from my armor.
Never trade your faith for armor.
A history with God-options is what charged David’s response to Saul. It was a life lived from God’s influence that empowered him to overcome the bear and the lion. Saul may have had armor, but David had the testimony of his faith. There are times when each of us can hear Goliath taunting on the battleground and what will get us through and make us victorious is our faith, not our armor. 2 Corinthians 10:4: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty in God…”.
People mistake positive thinking for God thinking. The problem with positive thinking is that it is hollow; there is no power base to support it. God thinking, on the other hand, comes with resurrection power. Jesus speaking to Peter in Matthew 16:17 says, “Blessed are you, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven.” Blessing results when we live from a foundation that is constructed by the Holy Spirit. Revelation is discovering an aspect to God’s goodness and allowing the Spirit to transform my beliefs so that this goodness redefines my life’s footing. In Mark 1:15 Jesus implores us to “repent and believe the gospel.” Repenting is ‘to change our mind’ from believing the wrong things about God. When I adopt God’s thinking, I step into right(eous) thinking which leads to right(eous) beliefs and establishes a right(eous) foundation called faith. Only a right(eous) foundation will sustain us and equip us to overcome when our circumstances are in contradiction to it. Never trade your faith for armor.
In Mark 5, Jairus’ right thinking led him to ask Jesus to heal his daughter. However, when he returned home with Jesus the crowd was mourning her death. In verse 36, Jesus tells him, “Do not be afraid, only believe.” Jesus was instructing him to remain rooted in right thinking because this is where resurrection power resides. People can’t see our belief; all they see is our armor – our natural ability. The result is that they respond to natural knowledge, not spiritual potential. If we give room to our environment’s influence, we begin to lean to our own understanding and the result is we become double minded. Moving off a foundation of faith into wrong thinking results in actions that are devoid of the Spirit’s influence; we engage in works without power. Matthew 13 tells of Jesus return to his hometown and how He could do no mighty works there because of their unbelief. Thinking the wrong things about God inhibited the ability of the anointing to affect change. When my thinking is wrong, the Spirit’s influence is absent.
When I’ve encountered the Spirit’s influence, I don’t want to go back to handling life without it.
We are told that David took off Saul’s armor because “he hadn’t tested them.” When we live from a new place, we don’t want to go back to our old ways. When I’ve encountered the Spirit’s influence, I don’t want to go back to handling life without it. I find that I’m no longer in a place of dependency on my thinking, talent, ability or training. It’s much like one’s appreciation for wine. People often start off drinking sweet wine, but as their palates become more seasoned, so they develop the ability to recognize and enjoy a more complex flavor profile. When this happens it’s difficult to go back to where they’ve been; to go back to sweet! Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” When we start out in praise and worship, technical aspects like skill, melody, rhythm and harmony hold our attention; we like the lights and smoke theatrics. But after we encounter and are touched by the Spirit’s presence, the technical and entertaining aspects lose their value. We discover a new, deeper and more rewarding dimension. When we praise and worship from this place, we never want to go back to just singing songs. It’s much like teaching. We start out in search of information; but when we discover revelation, we lose all desire to go back to where we were. When we allow the Spirit’s influence to use the Word as a tool to transform us, information pales in comparison.