You know those people who are so very level-headed and emotionally unmoved by any situation they are in? Yeah, well, unfortunately I am not one of them when left to my own devices. I can go from completely annoyed at every driver on the road to having tears fill my eyes when later watching one of those YouTube videos about an animal being reunited with its owner after like 10 years. Yep, absurd. But, I think this calls into concern the issue of having a grounded identity. I really like how Watchman Nee addresses this in his book The Release of The Spirit by saying: “He who is truly used by God is one whose outward thought and outward emotion do not act independently of The Spirit. If we have not learned this lesson, we shall find that our effectiveness is greatly impaired.”
When we rely on Truth, or God’s words found only in the Bible, our inner peace and thoughts are unstirred. We then identify in something unaffected by time or circumstances and then find ourselves being more effective in the tasks at hand. To better address this, we will look at the well-known story of David and Goliath to learn what it means to identify in Truth, like David, instead of circumstances, like Saul, and how this ultimately gives us a more useful role in serving Our King.
In Verse 23, David, the next appointed King, just rushed to the battle line and witnessed the opposing Philistine “war champion” named Goliath. The men in battle retreated out of fear and informed David of the award that King Saul would bestow on any man who could slay Goliath. In Verse 26 David, without even skipping a beat, responds to them by testifying to the supremacy of the Lord’s power. He says, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” This shows us that David had trained his thoughts and reactions (emotions) to be in-tune with Truth and not his present circumstances. In Verse 32, David then confronts King Saul and rises to the challenge of taking on Goliath not out of a self-confidence but out of a God-confidence. He claims that the power of an extraordinary God can empower him and Israel in an extraordinary victory. Then, instead of David being set-back or swayed by the discouraging words of Saul, David valiantly attests to the LORD’s character and provision in Verse 37 and thus proves his devotion. This makes me think of the visual presented in Psalm 1:3 that we should be like a tree firmly planted by its nutrition source in order to yield fruit, prosper, and remain unmoved when the weather gets rough.
Reflecting his lack of faith in God’s ability, King Saul establishes a prize for any man who can kill the colossal war icon, Goliath. When David presents himself to take on Goliath, Saul first responds to David by discouraging him from such a task based on the present circumstances of Goliath’s size. In Verse 33 Saul says, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” However, after David’s exhortation of the Lord in Verses 34-37, Saul is swayed by the words of David and gives David his blessing to take on Goliath. As further context, Saul was rejected as king in Chapter 15 after doing what the people wanted him to do instead of what God had commanded him to do, so we see this to be the pattern in Saul’s life. Saul identifies in his circumstances and in the words of other people instead of in the power of The True King. Like Saul, how often do we tend to rely on our circumstances and the opinions of our friends in order to make decisions? Probably way too much.
Instead, we are to claim Truth, engrave Truth into our minds, and rely on Truth so that we don’t waiver when compromising situations arise. See, Truth is an absolute found only within our Lord and found within the Scriptures. The beautiful by-product of full reliance on His Word is that where His Truth is, there is power. We see this in how David was empowered to take on a giant challenge (lol, pun) and as he was unmoved by emotions or present circumstances! Let me ask you if you tend to relate more to Saul or David, when looking at the chart below? This can be a real identity indicator!
In my own life, I have to remind myself daily that my emotions and thoughts should not be stirred by other’s perceptions of me or by my present circumstances. This can happen all too easily when someone makes a remark about me that I deem to be misunderstood or untrue (happen to you too?). Through relying on Truth, our identity can hold firm, our feelings can remain un-waivered (by such silly matters like agitation from traffic), and our focus can be more invested in things that are eternal. May we identify in the one constant that we have – the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ – so that our effectiveness in the work of His glory may be strong and untainted by circumstances, pride, emotions, or the influence of others.
|Worldly doubt||Godly courage|
|Focuses on his ability||Focuses on his availability to God’s ability|
|People pleaser||God pleaser|
|Swayed by others||Doesn’t compromise|
|Led by feelings||Led by Truth|
|Trusts present circumstances||Trusts the Lord’s Truth|
|Thought highly of himself||Thought highly of God|
Dear Lord, we thank You for who You are, and we are humbled knowing that You deserve
all of our praise and devotion. God, we want to be unmoved by our present circumstances
through identifying in and claiming Your Truth so that we can be empowered to serve
You well. Spirit, let this fall fresh on our minds and open our eyes when
we don’t rely on You.
The Root of the Righteous by A.W. Tozer