One of the most important questions you will ever ask yourself is this: Who is God?
Your answer to this question will make or break you, will determine your character and even your personality in some ways. When you think about God, what you think will determine how you approach life’s circumstances and the outcome of those circumstances.
The hero David in the Bible gets a lot of attention for all his great exploits. He was a bold man who refused to be defeated and led armies of loyal men who shaped a nation. How did he become so brave? Where did his courage originate?
Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover 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 the Lord be with you!” (1 Samuel 17:31-37)
David had been tested before. He had confronted monsters and he had come out victorious. His track record for victory was not about to be tarnished by some (as he put it) “uncircumcised Philistine.” Let’s not mention the fact that this particular Philistine was a giant who had trained for war his whole life. David stood with confidence before a king and declared his victory before he’d seen it. He was confident because he knew the nature of his God. He knew his God by name. In other words, David knew God’s nature and that gave him courage. Let’s read what he told Goliath just before he killed him:
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
I don’t hear any concern or worry coming from his words. It doesn’t sound like David was insecure standing before Goliath, wondering if God was going to come through. David knew what God would do because he had seen it before.
Life’s circumstances are training us to become giant killers. We are learning to be confident in the Lord as we face the situations of our day to day. Every little victory instills in us a bit more confidence in our inheritance that is victory. Each time we face a lion, we are learning the character and nature of a faithful God who refuses to be defeated. We get a taste of victory and we are no longer satisfied with defeat. We train harder and the tests become more difficult, but we learn to walk out of each one with a bit more confidence, until we, one day, find ourselves standing before a giant and we are declaring the outcome of the battle before it’s begun because we know our who our God is.
Our confidence and our very identity is rooted in how we view our God.
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed[d] in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)
Peter’s answer to Jesus’ question “Who do you say I am,” not only established in his heart who Jesus was, but also established who he was: a rock. Jesus spoke identity into Peter when he declared who Jesus was.
It is in knowing the nature of God that our confidence is born. It is in the secret place, in the fields tending sheep and walking side-by-side with Jesus that we begin to understand we were born for victory. Jesus conquered it all on the cross. We have a High Priest who is Christos Victor: Christ the victor! This glorious victor is our co-heir! We have the Holy Spirit who is not a flighty, flaky bird who might run away if we scare Him, but is loyal and steadfast through every situation. He is our friend, our guide, our counselor, our teacher. He promised He would never leave us! We have God, our Father, who is passionate about restoring us. He has pursued us and will never stop pursuing us. He loves us with an everlasting love that does not and cannot change, no matter what we do.
Only in intimacy with God can we come to truly know this for ourselves. We must take time to converse with Him. Ask Him those questions that nag at the back of your mind. You don’t know because you do not ask. You do not have because you do not ask. Begin to sit with the Father and talk to Him about your day. What are your emotions about a circumstance in your life right now? He won’t dismiss them, though He may (and probably will) give you a new perspective about that circumstance. What are your thoughts about the future? He’d love to hear them and even partner with you in bringing those dreams to pass! What are issues in this world you’d like to see change? Tell God about them. He might give you a vision for being a part of the solution.
Engage with God. Invite Him into your day-to-day life. Talk to Him while you do the dishes, sing with Him in the shower, ask Him questions while you drive to work. Expect Him to respond. Write down what you believe you hear from Him and then test it! Here are five great “Test It” questions I like to use (given to me by one of my mentors):
- Does it glorify Jesus?
- Does it bear fruit? (As in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control- you know, fruits of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23)
- Do other believers confirm it? Get some accountability people in your life! People who account-for-your-ability and will speak truth if they feel you have perhaps “missed it.”
- Is it Scriptural?
- Does it come to pass? (This is particularly for prophetic words, so it helps keep those words fresh as you ask, “Is this coming to pass in my life?)
Get to know this Father who bankrupted heaven to have you back! He loves you and as you get to know Him better, you will discover a love for Him and others you never knew you could have. You will find, within His love, the confidence to be who you were always meant to be. You’ll find the courage to stand before giants with a stone and prophecy his demise because you trust the One who is standing beside you.