I remember reading the story Jack and the Beanstalk many, many years ago. I found it a bit scary at first. My very imaginative mind had no trouble picturing the scene where Jack first realises he is in danger of being eaten by a very mean giant. As you would expect with a children’s book, it all ends well, as Jack manages to slay the giant – using little more than wits and nimble limbs – and make off with enough treasure for he and his mother to live on for the rest of their lives.
As I have been thinking this week about living the supernatural life we have been called to live and taking ground for the kingdom of God, I was reminded of the story of Jack and his oversized beanstalk. While you may think the analogy is far-fetched, I believe we really are expected to slay giants with weapons that at first glance don’t seem to amount to very much. At least not to the outside world.
When Paul told the Corinthians about an opportunity for ministry that had opened up for him, he made what seemed like a throwaway comment about the opposition that followed closely on the heels of this opportunity. And it got me thinking. Often when a door opens for us to get involved in something new and exciting, something that God wants to use to increase His kingdom and bring glory to His name, there are invariably giants whose main aim is to distract us from that opportunity.
Take the Israelites who went to spy out the Promised Land. Forgetting that God had made them giant slayers, they were so intimidated by the giants they saw in Canaan that they failed to see the far-reaching opportunity to conquer and occupy. Now before you ‘tut tut’ at them and wonder how they could be so near sighted, it would be wise to consider your own life. How are you doing with giant slaying? Too often we forget that the same ‘giant slayer’ gene resides in us and instead of advancing with confidence when we face those giants, we retreat like grasshoppers.
It is usually easy to recognise opposition, because rather like the giant in Jack’s story, it is usually big, loud and ugly. On the other hand, opportunity can so easily be dwarfed by or even disguised as opposition. The result is that you can spend so much time focussing on the opposition that you miss the opportunity lurking in there somewhere.
When the Philistines taunted the Israelites with their meanest and biggest soldier, Goliath, all that the Israelites could see was his menacing figure. David on the other hand, saw an opportunity to prove that the Israelite God was the true god and that goliath was no match for Him. As soon as David recognised this opportunity, he acted accordingly, using the tools God had given him, to kill Goliath.
To be more adept at ‘giant slaying’, you’ll need the same modus operandi as David. Instead of allowing your vision to be obscured by the opposition, you look for the opportunity in every trial or trouble. Once the opportunity is identified, you pick the appropriate tool or tools from your tool box and go hunting. The Bible says that the weapons we have been given are not worldly*, but they do have tremendous power. These weapons include Holy Spirit guidance and wisdom, prayer, praise, the name of Jesus and the sword of the Spirit – God’s word.
No wonder Paul could ‘count it all joy’** when he was faced with opposition. He had learned that every trial was an opportunity to go giant slaying. I don’t always feel like slaying giants. Neither will you. I have learned that I don’t always need to check in with my feelings. Feelings are natural, but we must remember they are temporary and therefore subject to change. Instead of letting my feelings dictate my actions, I look instead to the deposit of grace that resides inside me. The more I look to this grace, the stronger my resolve to face my giants squarely, and stay in that place until I taste the sweetness of victory.
The giant slayers in the Bible were not bigger or stronger than we are. Their giants may have looked different but they had the same intention to wreck havoc as the giants we face today. All those Bible heroes had going for them was a Mighty God on their side. We have Him too. More now perhaps than they ever did, because of what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. The cross has not and will never lose its power.
So from one giant slayer to another, can I encourage you to go out there and do what you were created to do? Look for the opportunity in every opposition. Then slay some giants!
*2 Corinthians 10:4
** James 1:2