Mercer beating Duke. Frasier over Ali. Yang out-stroking Tiger. Valvano’s Wolfpack taking down The Dream’s Houston Cougars in ’83. Namath’s Jets shocking the Colts. Buster Douglas knocking out Tyson. And, perhaps the greatest sports upset of all time … the 1980 “miracle on ice” US Olympic Hockey Team beating the high-powered Soviet Union.
But there’s another upset that tops ‘em all. Imagine facing a perennial No. 1 warrior, 9-foot tall monster of a man with a menacing reputation and master of psychological and physical warfare, covered head to toe in armor and carrying weapons with physical power never before seen by a man on earth?
We all love the Cinderella story. But when you’re facing a giant like this, courage alone can only get you to the battlefield. To win, you’ve got to have something extra.
Ask David. He was a shepherd boy, taking care of sheep and serving his brothers snacks while they were on the front lines of battle. Hardly the makings of a warrior. He wore loose and light clothes, sandals, maybe had a shepherd’s staff, and a sling-shot. Although David was underestimated, his greatest assets were not external, visible or even quantifiable.
He had heart, passion, fearlessness, compassion — and God on his side.
When David heard Goliath defying the Israelite army and mocking God, it triggered a tsunami of emotions, energy, and holy inertia that no one could have predicted. The stage was set: A physical giant would take on a spiritual giant, which would be the most outlandish confrontation in history.
The fact is, we all face battles with insurmountable odds against us at times in our lives. Our faith, being one of them. We are designated by God to be strangers deployed in a foreign land that is, at its roots, openly hostile to our faith and seeks to tear it to pieces. That may not be the way we want it, but that is the way it is.
Jesus was up front about the reality of identity in him and the reality of cultural hostility:
- “As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you…if they persecuted me they will persecute you also…they will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” — John 15:19-21.
How to Win Battles With Odds Stacked Against You
When you face a battle, whether it’s physical, emotional, relational, financial, mental or spiritual, here are ways to tips the scales in your favor and become a giant killer
1. Recruit a Ringer.
This may sound like cheating, but that’s not the intent. The first step to winning a major battle is to be on the right team, God’s team. If you believe in God, follow His ways, fully surrender to Him and trust His will, then you have a ringer. With God on your side, all things are possible.
- “…If God is for us, who can be against us?” — Romans 8:31
2. Pick a Giant.
Now, what battle needs to be won? Pick one. Do you have an estranged relationship? Financial trouble? Secret sin? Major challenge? Be specific and decide to do battle. That’s what David did. He heard God being mocked and decided to do something about it.
3. Power Up.
Next, ask God for help. Like David, we have an intangible and mighty Spirit serving as our advocate and who can intervene on our behalf. It’s like a guarantee, even if the result doesn’t appear to be a “win,” with God and the Spirit on your side, the plan will surely work out. The Bible says every knee will bow at the name of Jesus.
- The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.” — Isaiah 11:2
4. Run to Battle.
With God on your side, the battle in front of you and the Spirit behind you, you can face your battle with confidence! Don’t walk. Run. Run to the battle with faith that God’s plan will prevail. And His plans are good ones — that’s a promise.
- “As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.” — 1 Samuel 17:48
5. Shock the World.
Now execute your plan. God has a way of making your weakness turn into strength. You may not know how or when the battle will be won, but it will. And, the world will be left to wonder, ‘how the heck did that happen?’ And you can answer, “I am with God and He is able.”
If you find yourself a little weak in the knees, repeat the following truths out loud to yourself when you have a Goliath in your life:
God has prepared me.
The Holy Spirit is in me.
Nothing can stop me.
Nothing can hurt me.
God is for me.
He will redeem me.”
Besides, everybody loves rooting for the underdog.
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Kenny Luck, founder and president of Every Man Ministries, is the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, and has a great deal of experience in leading men through their walk with God. His program Sleeping Giant empowers men to take the experience of a men’s ministry and bring it to their own communities. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com and start your men’s group today.