Thursday, November 26, 2009
Though they may not know it, those who want to serve God will undoubtedly face unexpected hardships, seasons of frustration and seeming futility, and find themselves painted into what seem like impossible corners. And then there are the giants, those brutal, lumbering monstrosities that crash into our lives—unexpected and uninvited—and show every intention of taking up residence. These giants don’t have six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Instead, they take on the ugly face of disease, disappointment, depression, addiction, financial reversal, career setback, family breakdown, and personal failure.
“The diverse giants we fight can threaten our peace, well-being and very existence. And the man who desires to be used by God will face not just one giant in his life, but many,” writes Steve Farrar. “That’s the nature of the Christian life. It’s from faith to faith or, to put it another way, from giant to giant.”
In Battle Ready, Farrar teaches men the importance of training and preparing for combat with these giants by examining the real life biographies of men who made an impact in their world, Bible warriors Caleb and Joshua. While exploring the lives of Joshua, who led the Israelites into the Promised Land, and Caleb, who trusted God, and not himself, for victory in battle, Farrar offers perspective, strong counsel, and hope for every man who longs to serve God.
Excerpts from Battle Ready by Steve Farrar:
If you want to be used—really picked up and significantly utilized—by the living God, you’re going to have to fight the giants.
If you think that sounds simplistic, you’re right.
It is simple. But it’s also the truth.
Joshua and Caleb were used by God. They didn’t squander or waste their lives. They were used, made a difference, contributed, gave more than they took, and, consequently, their lives are remembered and valued to this day. Why?
Because they were willing to fight the giants.
You probably know the story. Joshua and Caleb were part of a twelve man team sent out by Moses to do some advance reconnaissance work in the land of Canaan. The children of Israel had just left hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt and were headed to the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. In Numbers 13, God told Moses to pick a leader from each of the twelve tribes in order to do special ops in the land.
The twelve men completed the mission and returned to give their report to Moses and the people of Israel. They reported that it was a fabulous land of milk and honey. They even brought a cluster of grapes out with them—a cluster so heavy it took two men to carry it. But then they got down to the nitty-gritty:
However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” (vv. 28–31)
These ten spies are quaking in their boots. All of these different tribes of -ites have given them the heebie-jeebies. The battle hasn’t even begun, and these guys are already looking for the locker room.
But they weren’t done yet with their cowardly report. The old King James Version does the best job of capturing the trembling in their hearts and the shaking of their voices:
But the men that went up with him said, “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.”
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (vv. 31–33)
Did these ten men go on to be used by God?
Did they ever inspire anyone by their example?
Did they ever lead men into battle?
Were they remembered as men of honor and courage?
Are you kidding me?
The Greatest Giant
Heart attack, loss of job, a wife with cancer, a son in jail, fighting off a foreclosure—those are all legitimate giants. But what is the greatest giant of all? I teach a men’s study in Dallas on Wednesday evenings, and I recently asked that question of the men: “What is the greatest giant of them all?”
When I asked for verbal feedback, it came fast and furious. The answers ricocheted from every corner of the room.
I interrupted the responses and said, “Those are very good answers—very wise answers—but they are all wrong. What else have you got? What is the greatest giant of them all?”
The love of money!
Growing up without a father!
An ex-wife who degrades you before the children!
Failing as a father!
Breaking a trust!
I broke in and said, “I want to commend you for those answers. They aren’t superficial, and they are gut-level honest. And those are all big giants. But once again they’re all wrong. Let me give you the answer. The biggest giant of them all is God.”
And just that quickly, the room of several hundred men grew very quiet. In fact, you could have heard a pin drop as the reality of the answer penetrated the mind of every man in the room.
Every man has fought and is fighting giants. And make no mistake, these giants are huge. Sometimes, however, in the process of grappling with these intimidating, overwhelming giants, we forget the greatest Giant. God is the greatest of all the giants.
Joshua and Caleb knew that, and that’s why they stood up and spoke against the panic of the other ten spies.
Samuel Adams and John Hancock knew it as well, and that’s why they stood and spoke against tyranny in the name of almighty God. God is the trump card of your life. It doesn’t matter what giant you may be facing—booze, porn, guilt, lying, cocaine, failure, invading armies, whatever—God trumps your giant. He will always trump the giants—every single one of them. But we can so quickly forget that He is there.
After the recent presidential election, some Christians were elated and some were depressed. Many who were depressed expressed great concern over the continuing survival of our democracy. Now that’s a major giant.
Samuel Adams and John Hancock wanted a democratic nation to be born. I don’t know of any serious Christian who doesn’t want it to survive.
So how do you defeat this particular giant? You go to Daniel 2:20–21:
Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.”
The follow-up to God Built, the first in the Bold Man of God series, Battle Ready will prepare men of all ages, at every stage of their spiritual walk, to become men God can use—men who are battle ready!
©2009 Cook Communications Ministries. Battle Ready by Steve Farrar. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.
Author Bio: Steve Farrar is the founder and chairman of Men’s Leadership Ministries, an organization dedicated to equipping men for spiritual leadership. He is a frequent speaker at men’s events and conferences across the country and is the best-selling author of God Built and Point Man. Steve and his family reside in the Dallas, Texas area.
Battle Ready: Prepare to Be Used by God by Steve Farrar
David C Cook/September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6869-8/256 pages/softcover/$14.99