Growing up, I loved walking around in high heels. Usually, they were my mom’s or a pair from the church rummage sale. They were always several sizes too big for me, but I loved to clomp around in them. I felt glamorous and grown up. But when it was time to go out of the house, my mom always made me put on my own shoes.
Why? Because they fit better.
Right before David stepped out to fight Goliath, King Saul offered him his own suit of armor. The king’s armor was likely one of the only sets of armor in Israel at the time, his sword one of the only swords. By offering David his armor, he did David a great honor and a great favor (and a tiny fighting chance).
The Bible tells us that David put on the coat of mail, the bronze helmet, and the sword. He tried to take a few steps to test out his new equipment, but he could barely move. In the New Living Translation, David says, “I can’t go in these. I’m not used to them” (1 Samuel 17:39). He took everything off and went out to face Goliath with only his own slingshot and five smooth stones.
Often, we find ourselves trying to fill someone else’s shoes in life and in ministry. Sometimes we volunteer to take on new roles. Other times, tasks and responsibilities are placed (or dropped) in our laps. We find ourselves out of our league and over our heads.
The temptation to wear another person’s armor into battle.
This one sounds like, “I don’t have the skills to do this. This isn’t my gifting. I’ll let everyone down. I’ll rock the boat. I don’t know if people will like my ideas. I wish I could be more like ____ .”
Saul’s armor was designed for Saul, not for David. It was too heavy and it limited David’s ability to move freely. In 1 Samuel 9:2, we learn that Saul was head and shoulders taller than any other man in Israel. He was a huge man! Saul’s armor was too heavy and awkward for David. It didn’t fit.
David didn’t need Saul’s armor. It would have only slowed him down.
Another person’s armor (or skill set) never feels quite right. It’s awkward and fatiguing. Wearing my mom’s high heels as a girl was fun but uncomfortable. I tripped a lot. My ankles rolled. I couldn’t move around easily. I had to walk slowly. My range of motion was cut short. The shoes just didn’t fit!
David wasn’t comfortable in King Saul’s armor, but he felt right at home slinging stones. David did what he knew best, what he’d been trained to do, what he was made to do. He ran toward Goliath with his sling and stone and defeated the giant.
The temptation to believe the battle is ours to fight.
This one sounds like, “I can do this. I just need to work hard, try harder, be more efficient. I can’t afford to take a break. I’ll get up earlier, stay up later, get more organized, and spend more time on this.”
David was victorious that day because he knew that the battle belonged to the Lord. He shouts God’s truth and promises, right before stepping out to fight: “And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:47)
David had big faith in God’s power to defeat Israel’s enemies. David knew God could use someone like him – a simple sheepherder – to take down a giant. He stepped out in faith because he believed in God for the victory.
David’s willingness was more important than his equipment.
Are you using the skills and talents God has given to you, those things that come naturally? If you find yourself walking around in someone else’s armor (or another woman’s heels), ask God to show you what “sling and stone” he’s given you to use in life, in ministry, and in battle.
Do you believe that the battle belongs to the Lord? Then, it’s time to pray. Stop everything else and pray. Pray until you know you’ve heard from God for your next step. Pray on your knees, out loud, or in writing. Whatever it takes, stop, be quiet, be still, and pray.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
(2 Corinthians 10:4, ESV)
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