Victory Over Goliath

We all have “giants” in our life that attempt to hold us back from the life God has designed for us. Some of our giants include fear, anger, rejection, comfort, addiction. Join us for this 7-week sermon series as we understand some of the “giants” in our lives and how they can be overcome because of Jesus Christ.

This series takes us through an in-depth study of 1 Samuel 17: the story of David and Goliath.

“Goliath Will Fall” (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

“Giant of Fear Will Fall” (1 Samuel 17:1-11)

“Giant of Rejection Will Fall” (1 Samuel 17:26-33)

“Giant of Comfort Will Fall” (1 Samuel 17:16,25)

“Giant of Anger Will Fall” (1 Samuel 16:7, 17:28)

“Giant of Addiction Will Fall” (1 Samuel 17:33-40)

“Living in Freedom” (Galatians 5:1)

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Beyond Jealousy

Click here to read the passage for today: Acts 5:17-42 CEB.

Jealousy. We all get jealous at times. Sometimes we don’t even want to admit we feel this emotion. Jealousy, when left unchecked, causes us to act in irrational and hurtful ways. Oh, we want to feel excitement for the accomplishments and gifts of other people; but deep down we wish it was us getting that recognition, so we can try to do anything to undermine the work of another.

Often times, when I write a blog about scripture, I can see my own flawed nature. This is hard because I would like to think I am always striving to encourage and develop others; but honestly, this is not always the case. My guess is this same thing happens to you, would you admit it?

So where does jealousy come from? Our flawed humanity seems to be always seeking to acquire and use what we do not have. This is why the 10th Commandment is “do not covet anything of your neighbor’s.” (See Exodus 20:17) Why is this included? I believe this commandment is part of the other nine because if we desire to have what our neighbors (those around us) have then we will never be content with what God has given us and we will seek to be made in the image of the other person rather than being formed and molded into the image of Jesus Christ.

Have you ever thought of that? Why would we want to be a replica of another person who is flawed and imperfect? Why wouldn’t we strive to be made perfect through the grace of God working in and through us? People who are in leadership positions most certainly fall into this way of thinking and of life.

Whenever another person seems to have more success than you do, be careful not to fall into the trap of doing everything exactly the way they do. The other person has different gifts, and a different area to work in. Just because success is happening in a specific way in one area does not mean it will work in your area. Just because another company, organization, church, group has something we don’t have doesn’t mean we have to go out to bash it, to try and stop it, or even try to replicate exactly.

We see this behavior all over the place. Spectators who want to be coaches instead of fully enjoying the nature of the game. Bystanders who want to know they are not getting what they want instead of being part of the activity, ministry, mission to serve other people. Deep down, there is a desire to be better than the person next to us.

Instead of waiting our energy tearing down another person or group because we’re jealous, let’s instead find a way to say “thanks” for the work they’re doing, for how they are using their gifts from God, for the opportunity to work together for the common good and goal of ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Let’s take Gamaliel’s advice to the Jewish Council speak to us today, “Here’s my recommendation in this case: Distance yourselves from these men. Let them go! If their plan or activity is of human origin, it will end in ruin. If it originates with God, you won’t be able to stop them. Instead, you would actually find yourselves fighting God!”

So let’s praise God for the way he works through many different people and in many different ways. Let’s praise God for the way he works through you and me. Let’s allow more thanks and praise to flow from our lips. We have so much to give praise for because we, along with those around us, have the presence God working in us and through us AND we get to watch his work through other people.

Rearrangement vs Total Rennovation

This week, I was watching construction workers rebuilding a bridge on a county road. I love observing things get built. As they were working, I noticed a couple of the workers seemed to just be moving the same materials back and forth. Since this seemed to catch my attention, the next thought I had was, “isn’t this what we do with our lives?”

We can look at our lives and know what is important to us. When something in our relationship gets “out of whack,” we tend to rearrange our priorities to either put that person “first” or include that person more often in what we’re doing. This got me thinking even more.

As I was pondering this, I remembered the verses of Scripture where Jesus says, “whoever wants to follow me must deny himself…” When we look at this, it doesn’t say, “whoever wants to follow me has to keep doing the things you’re doing just put me first.” This would make Jesus as a check-off item on our to-do list. Instead, it says to “deny yourself.” Woah.  Deny ourselves? Jesus can’t mean that, can he?

Here’s how this has played out in my own life. Everything I do used to be done to give me the glory, honor, praise, recognition. As I grew in my faith, I still wanted to do the things I wanted to do. So, I just put the “Jesus stuff” at the first part of my day and went ahead doing what I had planned.

I always felt like I was not being fulfilled in my dreams and plans I was making until…it clicked. I was in my early twenties when I realized it’s not about simply putting Jesus first; it’s about having him be the central focus in my life. The ultimate goal is to deny myself the earthly pleasures and follow Christ. Not so I can show off my humility or so I can look like a ragged person; but so I can experience the true peace and true fulfillment that Christ gives.

Keeping Christ central in my life is not easy, nor does it mean I have or I will have an easy life. What it does mean is that now that I know who I am and Whose I am, my life has purpose. With this purpose, my desires have not gone away, they have been completely transformed and totally renovated to Christ’s desires.

Do I succeed daily? No. But with Christ working in my life and in your life, it is incredible what it really important.