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Flawlessly slaying - I crossed a giant

We are all familiar with children’s tales of giants. Growing up we probably heard a few of them. It might have thrilled us and sometimes scared us to imagine what it would be like to face a giant head on.

When we focus on the size of a full grown giant, we often forget that like every living thing it too was once a babe, needing nourishment and affection to get bigger and stronger. It too, was once supposedly harmless until it grows up. It grew into a challenge that now seems too difficult and too large to overcome. Initially, it was content with milk now it longs for meat, it was content with a light pat on the head as a show of affection when you walked out for your day but now it wants to go everywhere with you. Keeping this giant under control is a full-time job and it is draining your resources and energies. It literally begins to dictate the plans for your day and then it owns you and your very purpose because when you don’t comply, it turns vicious. So as long as you play along with it "all appears well with the world". You’re playing along eventually translates into a state of lethargy but your state of lethargy is far from peace. Your lethargic state is killing your dreams and crippling your purpose. So, what do we do with this giant?

There were a number of giants identified at the point the Israelites were making their way to the promised land. There is no doubt that a step change is required when we are getting closer to a promise or reached an important milestone. It is when we are on the precise path to where we need to be and closest to our promise, we face the most opposition. We often think this opposition is just external when actually it is an internal battle, a battle of the mind.

One day I got a call from my son's school. I was told that another little boy in his class had made a racist comment to his face. I probably would never have heard of this if my son hadn't the courage to go and report the incident knowing what he had experienced was not right. He boldly went up to his teacher and told her what the boy had said. I won’t go into the subsequent events but long story short my son got an apology and so did I. There was reinforcement of the right kind of behaviours to all parties involved.

This incident launched a fresh attack on me. I say this because I was raised in Nigeria surrounded by people who looked just like me with regards to colour. Racism was not something I experienced growing up or even understood but suddenly I find my son, my blood, the one dearest and closest to me would have to face this giant at so young an age. Suddenly this issue of racism became more important for me and I found God making opportunities available for me to address this giant constantly. Sometimes I admit I would have preferred not to but I just kept finding myself in the arena with it - it would not go away.

Truth be told it scared me for a season, it poisoned me and caused all sorts of insecurities that I didn’t even know existed in me. Am I enough I wondered? Do I fit in? Where do I go from here? It sometimes disorganised me when I found myself in certain conversations and situations. I became unsure because of the poisonous fumes of this giant. But every time I returned to the word, I was told an undeniable truth - I had been created in God's image, I shared a glorious inheritance with his son, I am more than a conqueror. So who and what was this giant taunting me?

Like bad habits, the longer we entertain insecurities the longer they fester and the harder it is to break free. Like bad habits insecurities when they fester can become a part of you, sometimes these insecurities introduce you to the wrong people and eclipse the real you.

We cannot slay the giants that exist in other people minds only those that exist in ours. Then in the light of our freedom they too might see the light and be freed.

The giant of racism carries with it a slavery mentality. This is a construct that has permeated the western world particularly for centuries even after the abolishment of slavery. What we find is that it is not only the aggressor that are the problem but the aggressed on have taken on a mindset that does not permit them to think beyond an impoverished predicament. Our mentality is sacred. We are to "guard our heart with all diligence because out of it comes the issues of life".

Instead of being the impoverished, you could be the Moses of your day. Moses was always the man for the job even before God called him. Moses stood up for an Israelite by killing the soldier that had been wiping him mercilessly. He stood against slavery. Moses stood up for the women at the well who were not allowed to fetch water by the shepherds because they were women. He stood against inequality. His heart had always been averse to oppression of any kind, he did not like or entertain it. His heart posture considered freedom as sacred and a basic right and he was ready to fight for it on behalf of others but God had to teach him how to and when to so he spent several years under the authority of his father-in-law Jethro learning discipline.

The Israelites faced the giant of fear and insecurity. David had to battle Goliath to rid the people of this fear. Terrorism is a societal giant we face today from different corners of the world, from Boko Haram in Nigeria to ISIS in America. David was a man who typically did not hesitant in confronting enemies and speaking the truth, he did not allow insecurities to overwhelm him. What we find in the world today is a lot of hesitation in speaking the truth and a requirement to be politically correct and that is crippling some societies and the livelihood of people. I have found in my experience that political correctness is not always the truth and terrorism can take on many subtle forms.

The Israelites faced a famine and were discriminated in the time of Pharaoh and Joseph battled against poverty in the land and won so there was food enough to spread even farther than the lands of Egypt. Poverty is a society giant we still face today and it causes all kinds of dysfunction, psychological, mental and spiritual. There are people that God has impressed upon to rid society of that giant. Could that be you?

It is important to know the signs that you are dealing with a giant. Note these four symptoms have been mentioned in progressive order

1) Insecurities: Insecurity is one of the worse feelings, i think. It just infects everything so quickly; it can spread like a wild fire. These insecurities can be exaggerated by what the people around you are saying and doing. David was taunted by Shimei when his son Absalom plotted to take his throne from him. David was accused of being a man who shed blood and David felt abandoned in that instance by God. There is a whole Psalms that talks about this. Some of the things that make us insecure are painful to process but until we do so righteously, we cannot get to the other side and be free of it.

2) Disorganisation or disorientation: I have been involved in conversations, meetings or confrontations where I have literally felt my thoughts completely disorganised and come out of those situations disoriented. Have you ever felt that way? Taking a step back, there was no physical indication of hostility but there appeared to be an underlining and imminent danger that proliferated the conversation like a social, religious or systematic construct contradicting the light of God. You find yourself questioning the validity of your contributions, you are reassessing the perfectly brilliant point you have made because each point you have made has been ignored so far throughout the meeting for no particular reason, you are blinded sided and barely have time to steady yourself because you are seemingly outnumbered. You are looking for an exit but there is none so you are stuck in a situation taking serious mental and psychological lashing because your "insecurities" have permeated your own mind to exaggerate something that is not true.

A giant will always cause disorder or confusion, the mere fact that it is existing in a place that does not normally contain its size makes it out to be an oddity.

When Moses was asked to build the ark of the covenant, God gave specifics on how this was to be done to the tiniest details on colour, textile and skill requirements. Order.

When the walls of Jericho came down, Joshua had been given specific orders to march in particular formation round the city. Order.

When Jesus met John the Baptist at the River Jordan, he asked to be baptised by John. Order.

When Jesus fed the 5000, he asked them to be seated in groups. Order

We come from a kingdom that is ordered so our thoughts, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how complex, need to be ordered to.

3) Losing focus: When disorganisation or disorientation persists for an extended period of time, we begin to loss focus. Consider a boxing match. The boxers are constantly trying to avoid punches because the harder and more frequent the punch the more disoriented they become and could lose focus in the ring. One thing leads to the next. When we loss focus, we can't see properly, our sight is hazing and our target is obscure.

4) Missing the mark: So, we swing our arms hoping to strike but we miss the mark because we are not stable. It almost seems like a clear path to missing the mark when it happens. It is clear that one thing leads to another but it all started with a seed of insecurity. The bible says we should "cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares.". It is super critical that we do not allow those insecurities fester in our lives. We leave our anxieties with Him. They are like landmines waiting to go off and cause chaos in our lives if we hang on to them.

So how do I deal with this giant you might ask. I tell you some qualities from the lives of a few heroes and heroines of ancient times

- You need to have zeal: David was not in doubt when he ran toward that battle line to face the Philistine Goliath. David was a man skilled in war, his reputation eventually surrounded him with mighty warriors that fought alongside him to wins countless wars for the children of God. If you recall when David first fought Goliath, the king’s army were afraid of such giants but when David took Goliath down it stirred up men of courage who fought alongside him in subsequent battles.

- Exercise those muscles: We need might, physical and spiritual. It required might for David to sling that stone and even more might to sever the head of the giant while he laid on the ground. It required strength and toughness of heart.

- No room for doubt: When facing a giant there is no room for doubt because the slightest hesitant could be detrimental to your life and the lives of so many other connected to you. Your focus and total dependency must be in the power of God.

- You really need a prayerful spirit: Abiding in God's presence happens when we truly worship in spirit and in truth. We stay connected to Him spiritually. Prayer is an opportunity for deep to call to deep, to discern the time and seasons correctly. There are some giants we fight alone and some with our comrades within the body of Christ. David fought Goliath alone. Moses and the Israelites fought the Amorites, Gigmanities and many others on the path to the promised land together. Esther entered the presence of the king alone but prayers of her brothers and sisters had gone before her.

- We must be brave and courageous: Esther was brave, she knew that if she went into the presence of the King at the time she did she could be put to death but she went anyway. She defied their laws to take her petition to the King and succeeded because God was with her. Esther was a woman of great discernment, meekness and courage, she galvanised a whole nation in prayer to turn the heart of a king in their favour.

- Consistency: He who does not grow wary in doing good will eventually reap a harvest of righteousness. Sigh, tell me about it, sometimes i get tired of waiting and continuing the good works I am asked to do. The road isn't always smooth either but we need to keep sowing those seeds in the tensions and the rivalry because we know it will ultimately bring freedom. We can't give up on doing the right things.

- Faith: This comes by hearing. Are we listening to the right things? David spent a lot of time in the pastures caring for sheep and in the presence of God, so when he heard how Goliath taunted the Israelites it vexed his spirit. He was ready to take down that lion because I believe David felt a sense of protectiveness over God's people, his brothers and sisters as He did for the sheep he had been caring for. Every day David killed a lion in those pastures was a day he took a step to strengthen his faith and so when Goliath came around, David had mighty faith living inside him and he has passion for the things that concerned God. His appetite was on a different level compared with the soldiers on the battle field.

There are several things that may cause us to miss the mark and stand in the way of us achieving our goals and what I have discovered over the years is that a lot of that has to do with our self-discipline or self-control. The daily patterns or habits we forge even when things are not going as we have planned. Every warrior must have slayed certain appetites or curbed certain excesses to be who they are today. To stand for what they stand for and slay flawlessly.

So let me challenge you as we end this episode to consider:

•What are the things I have internalised that stand in the way of my fulfilment?

•What appetites do I need to slay?

•How do I slay these appetites?

•Am I projecting the right self-image? If not why not? (Because some giants are not a factor of your mind but someone else who you might encounter)

•What are those giants in this age I could help bring down?

On our next episode of Flawlessly slaying we have a very special guest coming and I cant wait to share the conversation with you.

Till then be blessed!

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