The Bible is full of stories about young people. There was Moses’ sister, Miriam, whose faithful watching helped preserve Moses’ life and made possible the fulfillment of God’s plan (Exodus 2). There was young Joseph showing the strength of his inner convictions in the midst of unpleasant outer circumstances (Genesis 27). There was John designated by the title “the disciple Jesus loved,” who was probably still a teenager when Jesus called him. There was young Timothy to whom Paul wrote, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity show yourself an example of those who believe (I Timothy 4:12).”
Perhaps the most famous youth of all was young David. His most significant accomplishment as a young person was when he faced, fought, frustrated, and finished off the giant, Goliath. The story is told in I Samuel 17. David was still very young, a teenager, for Goliath was insulted that this kid with the ruddy complexion would come out to fight him (verse 42). I’m not sure what ruddy means in this context. It could have been a reference to complexion problems! If so, then what we have here is a kid with pimples facing a giant who was over nine feet tall!
I believe this is a perfect picture of the situation facing young people today. The problems which youth face loom large before them like the giant did before young David.
Like the giant, Goliath, who towered above David, so these giants tower above young people today. Is the situation hopeless? No! For David followed a pattern that enabled him to win the victory.
1.He dared to be different.
Not only did David have to overcome the threat of the giant, he also had to overcome the pressure of his peers. The Bible says that all of Israel was afraid of the giant (verse 11). When the men of Israel heard the challenge of Goliath, they fled (verse 24). But notice the response of David, “for who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (verse 26b) David was not swayed by the feeling of the group or by the pressures of the crowd. He thought of himself. He dared to be different.
Satan is proclaiming with more success today than ever before one of his best lines: that conformity will ensure acceptance. He proclaims if you are like everyone else, if you do what everyone else does, you will be accepted. That is a lie! Respect comes not when you’re like everyone else, but when you consistently stand up for what you believe.
God is looking for individuals who will dare to be different, who will dare to do His will instead of the world’s, who instead of being conformed to the world will be transformed within by the Spirit of God.
2. He prepared himself.
David did not go into the challenge empty-handed. He was prepared. He discarded the armor of the soldiers, for it was too heavy. Instead, he picked up five
smooth stones from the brook and put them in his pocket as ammunition to feed into his trusty slingshot. He was ready.
One of the greatest needs for Christian young people is to prepare to meet the temptations of the world. How can you do this? By a decision and by discipline.
Proper preparation for tackling the giants facing us today is the prior decision that we are going to opt for what is right whatever happens. The reason so many youths are defeated by the giants facing them is that they wait until they get into a situation to decide whether or not they want to do God’s will. It’s too late then. The commitment to God’s way needs to be settled before the temptation comes.
The other key ingredient in our preparation is discipline. What we do in an emergency is merely the result of what we have been doing on uneventful days which preceded the challenge. Therefore, a daily discipline to prayer, Bible study, service, and sharing is the best preparation for facing today’s giants.
3. He kept his eyes on God.
David knew that he was no match for the giant in his own strength, but he did not face the giant in his own strength. He had the power of God in his arsenal. Verse 45 says, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have taunted.”
The Israelites looked at Goliath and said, “Look how much bigger he is than us.” David looked at Goliath and said, “Look how much smaller he is than God.” They said “He is too big to hit.” David responded, “He is too big to miss.”
When we realize that we never face any battles alone, but that we have available to us the very power of God, when we understand that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4), when we grasp the truth that God is keeping score, then we can say to the giants what David said, “Come on, you big ugly Philistine, God and I are going to get you.”
Article Written by Michael C. Blackwell, CEO and President