When my son was about ten years old, he went through a phase of “karate kicking” everything in sight… the refrigerator, the walls, the trees… you name it. After months of living with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle avatar, it seemed a good idea to add some professional training to all the exuberance.
Not surprising, he excelled quickly, and soon achieved his Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. My son was never the aggressive type. All boy for sure. But it was wrapped in a gentle and kind spirit. So I never worried that he would use his martial art skills in an unfitting way.
One day the school bully decided to target my son, taunting him for several days with his cowardice antics. Yet my son kept a cool head. That is until the day he pushed him in the back as he was getting off the school bus.Ten seconds and two karate moves later, the bully was on his back in the dirt. My son, on the other hand, stood tall, untouched and unrivaled. That day he walked away the school hero. The bully never bothered him again.
From outward appearances, the bully seemed tougher and more powerful. But none of that rattled my son. He knew what he had on the inside. He walked with confidence because of his training and the victories experienced on the road to Black Belt. Whatever transpired between him and the bully, it was going to be an Unfair Fight. That bully never stood a chance!
In a similar way, this is the attitude David had when he faced Goliath. To the natural eye it looked like David was doomed… just a mild mannered shepherd boy with a slingshot. He had no warfare training, no fighting skills kings and soldiers possess.
David, however, saw the entire drama from the perspective of heaven. He knew what he had on the inside. He was a person of covenant. Goliath may have stood tall in the natural world, covered from head to toe with the power of man. But all that armor meant nothing to David because he knew it meant nothing to God.
While everyone else saw a terrifying opponent, while the entire army of Israel spent days frozen with fear, David saw a defeated impostor. From heaven’s vantage point, Goliath was nothing more than a poser. Whatever transpired between David and Goliath, it was going to be an Unfair Fight. That giant never stood a chance!
As believers, walking in victory should be a “no brainer,” especially when so much is already in our favor. Sadly, many who name the name of Jesus, live yoked to unbelief and defeat. They should be walking in power and with confidence. But instead, they spend day after day walking in a dark ignorance concerning who they truly are in God.
They live below their privilege, beneath their position of authority… acting as if they are orphans of heaven rather than sons and daughters of the King of Kings. I should know. That was my existence for many years.
Through a set of circumstances beyond my control, I suffered the loss of a thriving business along with all the assets. Not only was it a source of income, not only an investment of my time and money, it was my retirement plan. That business represented my hopes and dreams. It was supposed to be the source of provision for my future.
The impact was so huge it forced me into bankruptcy. As if the loss of all my assets was not enough, I had to grapple with the loss of good credit standing (something I had worked for and valued all my life). To me, having a bankruptcy was worse than a Scarlet Letter.
I was frozen in fear and unbelief. Depression overwhelmed my days. Panic attacks delivered countless sleepless night. I saw no way of recovering, no light at the end of the tunnel. Nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) seemed bigger than that loss.
From my feeble vantage point, it was bigger than God, bigger than his love, bigger than his grace, bigger than his mercy. To add insult to injury, the business bankruptcy made me feel emotionally bankrupt. Unlike David, I ran from my giant. I caved to the fear.
It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually I began to imagine myself prosperous and successful. I started seeing myself as bigger than the loss of assets or a stupid man-made credit score. Through prayer and meditation, I began to let God’s word repaint my imagination. I started imagining myself on the road to a happy and blessed life. Truthfully I should be more embarrassed by how much validity I put in the opinion of man rather than the opinion of God. But that’s another blog for later on.
Today I am experiencing what I imagined years ago. I finally won my Unfair Fight. What was sent to defeat me has actually become a big part of my testimony to encourage others. What I thought would be a liability has become a resume enhancement. It has given me more credibility, more empathy, greater understanding. It has propelled me closer and closer to my destiny. And it has deposited a new faith to conquer bigger giants.
Now when I face a difficult challenge, I think back on those days and the faithfulness of God. Then I tell myself that the God who delivered me then will deliver me again. Just like David, I recall my past victories, and it paints an image in my mind of who I am in God, who he is in me and what I can do through Christ. It reminds me that I am not a victim, but a victor through him who gives me strength.
The good news is God wants all of us to win the unfair fights of life, no matter how they might be packaged. And he has ALREADY equipped us with everything we need to accomplish it.
So how do we get there? How do we shift our thinking and our expectations from fear to faith, from victim to victor? How do we become spiritual Black Belts in the Kingdom of God? Just as my son spent months of training in Tae Kwon Do, just as David spent years defending the flock against predators, we too must spend time building our spiritual muscles, going from strength to strength and faith to faith.
The primary method to achieve this is through consistent prayer and the study of God’s Word. In so doing, we allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and repaint our imaginations. The more we understand about who God is and who we are in him, the more we can face our giants with peace and confidence.
Isaiah 26:3 describes it like this: “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.” The Hebrew word for “mind” as used in this passage is “yetser.” It has to do with how we frame something in our thoughts, our conception of something or how we imagine it. Interestingly enough, the definition of imagination is “the faculty of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses.”
That means what we conceive, what we allow to take root becomes what we imagine. What we imagine becomes what we dwell on. What we dwell on is what we believe to be true. And what we continue to believe will eventually become a reality. But it all starts with an idea, a concept, an image, an imagination.
Taking a second look at the passage in Isaiah, we could actually rephrase it to say, “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose ‘imagination’ is stayed on thee.” In other words, what we allow to take root in our thoughts (good or bad) will paint an image in our mind. And those images will determine the level of peace and victory we enjoy. It will determine what we expect, what we anticipate, what we believe about our lives, our ability, our future, and our God.
Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” That is the essence of imagination. Seeing what does not yet exist as if it already does. This is what David did. He imagined himself defeating Goliath. He saw it as if it had already happened. And he experienced exactly what he imagined.
We can see this by what he said to Goliath. David spoke to the giant with the language of faith and not the language of the world, not the language of fear and defeat. David spoke to the giant from his Godly imagination. He chose to see the challenge the way God saw it.
First he refused to even recognize Goliath’s physical appearance. He completely dismissed his authority. He refused to give any validity to his heritage or ability. “You come against me with a sword and spear (the things of the world), but I come against you in the name of the Lord.”
But he didn’t stop there. David took it one step further and pronounced total defeat over Goliath’s legacy. “Today I will cut off your head and feed it to the birds of the air.” David called the things that were not (yet) as if they were (already a reality). Again, David spoke to the giant from his Godly imagination.
The same is true for you and me. Like David, we need to see every difficulty, every hardship, everything that comes against us as an Unfair Fight… in our favor. The problem is that many of us cave to our fears. We see ourselves as victims and not victors. We wave the white flag to our unbelief. We surrender to our past experiences and allow our thoughts to paint images of defeat about our future.
The truth is, we have to willingly give up our unfair advantage as sons and daughters of God in order to be defeated. From a spiritual perspective, we have to allow the cares and concerns of this world, the spiritual and emotional difficulties to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
God does not want us to live like that. He never wants us to give up our unfair advantage. Regardless of what we might go through, we need to remind ourselves that victory belongs to us! It belongs to us as much as our name, as much as our skin color or blood type. Victory is God’s free gift to us through Jesus our Lord!
That means we do not have to live as those who are without hope. We are not like those who shrink back. We are the chosen, the elect, the called. We are above and not below. We are the head and not the tail. We are crowned with the favor of God. We are more than conquerors through Christ.
The day of mother’s funeral, I had to put all this in to practice. On my way to the memorial, my thoughts and emotions started to get the better of me. What will it be like to see my mother in a casket? Will I be able to handle this? Will I fall apart? I don’t know how to prepare myself for something like this!
As I pulled into the parking lot, my heart started pounding out of my chest. “God, I can’t do this! I cannot go in there and look at my mother in a casket!” Entering the door I walked straight to the women’s rest room, locked myself in a stall and began to pray. “Lord, you said I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. You said greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. You said…. etc, etc, etc.
I was quoting every promise I could think of, but at some point I had to face the giant. Finally, I took a deep breath, looked up to the ceiling with a confident resolve and simply said, “Father, thank you for giving me the grace to look at my mother in a casket without falling to pieces. Thank you for the strength to walk through this valley with victory.” I chose to see myself victorious in the midst of the storm. I chose to see myself going through the day in peace and assurance.
Immediately it felt as if two giant wings wrapped around me… like a soft blanket of comfort and love. It was so strong, so real, I completely forget about the anxiety. It filled me with strength and assurance. It empowered me to face the giant of death without fear or despair. What I saw with my Godly imagination was becoming a reality.
As I walked towards my mother’s dead body, I felt a peace beyond common reasoning. Kissing her on the forehead I whispered, “Mother, I’m so happy you’re with Jesus. You go girl! Go get your reward!” For the rest of the day, I remained steadfast in peace and a quiet confidence.
Turns out, all my fears of falling apart and being overwhelmed never came to pass. That day, what I experienced from heaven was greater than the facts on earth.
Brothers and sisters, we are not just human. Yes we live in this natural world. But we also have a supernatural component to our existence. The exact same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us.
The same Spirit that spoke everything in to existence, sustains us, defends us, protects us, and fights for us. He closes the mouths of lions. He holds back the flood waters. He takes us through the storm, the fire and even the valley of death and brings us to the other side victorious.
The question is, “What are you saying about the giants in your life?” Are you speaking words of faith? Have you asked God to repaint your thoughts and ideas? Are you looking at it from heaven’s perspective? Are you speaking and thinking and praying from your Godly imagination?
If not, then make a promise to yourself to start walking in agreement with what God’s Word has to say about it. Make a decision today to allow his Word and his Spirit to repaint your mind and imagination about your life and your future. Speak to yourself with the same words God has already spoken over you.
Choose to see who God is and who he has created and empowered you to be in this life and for eternity.The Bible says the Lord holds victory in store for the upright. If you have made Jesus your Savior, that promise is for YOU! All you have to do is start walking in it.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9