Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

You know, right now I must confess that I am not in the mood to write about giants or mountains, but what has “mood” got to do with reality? The fact is, we all face our own personal “giants” and “mountains” as we travel through this world. I realize that through the years much has been taught, written, and preached on the subject of giants and mountains and the spiritual application to our own lives. However, until we reach our eternal home, there will continue to be various giants and mountains that we must face, not only in a personal and intimate way, but also on a much grander scale as the world suffers the last stages of its “birth pangs” prior to the return of Christ to set up His kingdom.

In our own lives, our latest “adventure” of packing it all up and moving to northern Idaho has, in many ways, reminded me of the battle against giants and mountains. Satan always has his giants in place—those people who possess both position and money have the power with which to oppose and oppress, while the literal physical obstacles looming before us are the mountains that must be climbed and conquered. It’s been our experience through the years that there is no shortage of giants, or mountains, for as soon as you (with the help of God)  conquer one giant or mountain, instead of fair winds and smooth sailing, you find yourself facing more giants and mountains. It’s all very exhausting, as I am sure you so well know.

Through this latest mental, physical and spiritual “stretching” GSM has gone through, thoughts of Caleb (along with Joshua and David) have come to mind. What powerful examples they are of how to approach and conquer giants and mountains. While they may have possessed grim determination and physical exertion, their success was based on their entire consecration to the Lord. Caleb expressed this when he declared, “I wholly followed the LORD my God” Joshua 14:8b. In Numbers 32:11, 12 the LORD promised Caleb and Joshua that they would see the land which He swore unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because they had wholly followed Him.

What does it mean to wholly follow the Lord? The answer is through love, obedience, trust, prayer, and repentance. These are the five necessary attributes of righteous motivation. Concerning love, Deuteronomy 6:5,says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Psalm 119:2 reveals the secret of true obedience, “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” Proverbs 3:5 tells us the essence of trust that is acceptable to God, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” In regard to prayer, Jeremiah 29:13 declares, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Finally, true repentance is revealed in Joel 2:12 thusly, “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.”  Therefore, if we approach giants and mountains with a fainting, half-hearted, hard, unbelieving, or rebellious heart, we cannot overcome and gain the victory or achieve our goals.

Caleb gives us a powerful example of a man who knew, believed, and served the Lord. Consider that Caleb (and Joshua), because of the unbelief of the children of Israel, were forced to spend at least 40 years of their lives wandering in the wilderness before they were able to receive their inheritance. Can you imagine spending four decades of your life in a wilderness because of the unbelief of others? One could fully understand if both of these valiant men had given up out of sheer mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. Instead, they stood strong in their confidence in God and His promises. Caleb even declared to Joshua, “And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in” Joshua 14:10-11. What a gallant man! No one would have blamed Caleb if he had decided to retire, kick back, and spend the rest of his days in leisure activities.

Caleb, however, wasn’t ready to abandon the vision that had carried him through the howling wasteland for so many years. He desired to see the Lord’s will carried out, to be productive, to make his life count for eternity. Caleb wasn’t interested in the vanity of this world. His burning desire was to be in the center of God’s will and purpose, not to sit in the safety of the sidelines as a spectator. He went on to say, “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said” Joshua 14:12.

Consider for a moment, and picture in your mind’s eye this elderly, yet strong, determined man asking Joshua’s permission to take on a mountain full of giants. How many of us, after a very prolonged time of trials and tribulations, drudgery, and hardship would beg for a mountain full of giants to conquer? Caleb truly believed what“the LORD said.” That is the key to victory—knowing what the Lord has said, and believing it. We read in Joshua 15:14, “And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.”Sheshai means “princely;” Ahiman means “brother of the right hand,” and Talmai means “brave.” Thus, Caleb in the strength of the Lord, brought down the ruling principality along with his strong and brave brothers. Nothing could intimidate or hinder the faith that Caleb possessed in the Lord and His Word.

Through the years of our own particular journey we have encountered our own brand of “giants” and have encountered more “mountains” than I care to think about. To me, those who have withstood us, come against us, tried to destroy us, use and abuse us, and hinder us are “giants.” Such people may not have been of great physical stature, but they certainly possessed certain abilities (usually of demonic origin) to cause dissention, division, depression, distress, and destruction financially. Such giants can only be brought down through much prayer and spiritual warfare.

Unlike giants which are alive and operating in the flesh, mountains are problems that challenge us simply because we are limited to a physical body in a physical, material world. To me, two of the major elements that make up mountains are financial and physical woes. Add to that the stresses of everyday living, with all of the problems (great and small) that present themselves, and you end up with a mountain in front of you that seems too great to climb over. As Christians, we know that both giants and mountains are overcome by faith—even the faith of a “mustard seed.” Overcoming giants also requires spiritual warfare, prayer, and wisdom, while mountains usually demand physical strength, endurance, and determination.

On the other hand, the truth is we are merely human. We become tired, weak, and discouraged, especially in prolonged battles that involve suffering, loss, and hardship. We eventually become weary with it all and reach the end of our own strength; and, when that fails, it is easy to feel hopeless, helpless, defeated, and depressed. It is at this point of weakness that Satan begins planting doubts in our mind such as, “You wouldn’t be in this situation if you were in God’s will; God doesn’t love you anymore or He wouldn’t allow you to suffer; God doesn’t care if you end up alone and forgotten; God is punishing you for being a failure; God’s promises are for others, not you; Things will never improve for your life, and everything you’ve done is in vain.” On and on it goes, depending on a person’s  point of vulnerability because Satan knows that if we buy a lie, we will be rendered ineffective against the giants and mountains in our lives. Hebrews 12:3 tells us to “consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds”.

This is when we must remember our Rock and our Tree. That is, the Rock of our Salvation, and the Cross. Concerning the Rock, this is the Rock upon which Jesus said we would be safe and established if we would build upon it by hearing and doing His sayings (See Matthew 7:24-27). Consider Hanna’s prayer, “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God” 1 Samuel 2:2. What a powerful prayer of faith and confidence! King David spoke unto the LORD in Samuel 22:2-4, 47, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.” “For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God” Psalm 18:31? “Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit” Psalm 28:1. David also declared, “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved” Psalm 62:2 and 6. (See also Psalm 94:22.)

The Apostle Paul told us to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” Ephesians 6:11. Paul knew that it would require the “whole armour of God” in order to remain standing. He said, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” Ephesians 6:13. Can anyone argue that we aren’t living “in the evil day?”

As you study the whole armor of God, note how the tree (cross) has opened up the way for us to be able to arm ourselves with truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Spirit so that we can stand against the giants of “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Ephesians 6:12b. Concerning truth, remember that Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the truth; God’s Word is truth; we are sanctified by the truth of God’s Word. (See John 1:1-5; 14:6; 17:17; 18:37).Truth will remain when all else fails, falls, and fades away.

It is impossible to overcome the giants and mountains in our lives without truth, yet people perish (are eternally lost) because they refuse to receive a love of the truth. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11). Through the years we have dealt with countless individuals who could not receive the truth because, for a variety of reasons, they wanted to believe what they wanted to believe. Lies, delusions, false religions, and philosophies all begin with a false light that deceives those who are seeking for something “more,” or “something beyond” the written Word of God. Curiosity, unbelief, intellectualism, pride, and indoctrination are some of the reasons people reject the truth, and seek to establish their own “truth.” However, there can only be one truth, and without it, man eventually comes to a dark pit of delusion, disorder, darkness, disappointment, despair, demonic influence, and death.

In the Revelation of Christ, He said of Himself, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write;These things saith he that is holy, he that is true…” Revelation 3:7a; And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” Revelation 3:14a. How do we know those who are of the truth? Jesus declared, “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” John 3:21. Those who are true worshippers of God worship Him in “spirit and in truth” (See John 4:23, 24.) How do we know what is true? Jesus said,“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you” John 16:13, 14. Jesus told Pilate, “…To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” John 18:37.

What if we reject the truth of God’s Word? Jesus warned, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” John 12:48.How do we know that God’s Word is really the truth? Jesus said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4. The Word of God is how we live, the rock upon which we build our lives, and the sword of truth with which we overcome the “giants” that defy us.

The next piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. This righteousness is the righteousness of Christ. In and of ourselves, we have no righteousness that is acceptable to God. (Read the parable of the marriage of the king’s son, Matthew 22:1-14.) The proper wedding garment in this parable is the “robe of righteousness” that only those who have been “washed in the blood of the Lamb” can wear. Any other “garment” consists of our own efforts at being “good,” or “righteous.” This type of “garment,” regardless of how lavish it may be is fashioned from our own works and efforts and remains as filthy rags before a holy God, and is totally unacceptable to Him as Cain discovered so long ago. Philippians 1:11 says, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

The “gospel of peace” is what our feet are to be wearing; that is, this is what gives us sure footing to keep us standing upright and strong. Gospel means “good news” and that good news is that God has provided the way through His Son for us to be reconciled to Him—to have peace with Him. How can we possibly fight in confidence against the adversary if we have not been properly reconciled to God? There can be no peace with God outside of His Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:10 declares, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Next in our armor is the shield of faith. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” Ephesians 6:16. How important is faith? “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” Galatians 3:11. “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrews 11:6. Many people have faith in their faith; faith in their doctrines; faith in themselves and their works; faith in their philosophy; faith in what they “confess” or “visualize” or faith in a myriad of other things (which is unbelief and idolatry). The definition of real faith according to God is, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1.

To “live by faith” means that regardless of the giants we must face, or the mountains we must climb, God is true, His Word is truth, and the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, and comfort us. Faith is the undefeatable shield against the fiery darts (lies and slander) of the wicked one and his emissaries. The one thing that Satan seeks to destroy is our faith, because if he can destroy our faith, then we will, through unbelief, deny the Lord and bring destruction upon our souls. (See 1 Peter 1:7; Job 1, 2.) “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” 1 John 5:4.

Two of the most important pieces of our spiritual armor are “the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17. Of course the helmet protects the head. Our minds must be stayed on Christ, who is our salvation. However, being human, it’s so easy to fill our minds with the things of this temporal world, ourselves, and other vain pursuits. This verse also defines what our sword is which brings us back to Spirit and truth.

Of course we are to “pray always”, in the Spirit, and watch. Thus, our victory comes, not because we are anything in and of ourselves to slay giants and conquer mountains, but because of the Rock of our salvation. The key to possessing overcoming authority and power is summed up in Revelation 12:22, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony: and they loved not their lives unto the death.” This is how to “wholly follow the Lord.”

      Finally, the Bible reveals the temptations, sufferings, weaknesses, and moments of despair and depression suffered by many of God’s servants through the centuries. Yet, these people of faith discovered that their real strength did not lie with themselves, but with the One who causes us to declare with the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Phillippians 4:13. When Paul sought the Lord to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” Jesus spoke to him and said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9. Therefore, if we put forth the impression that we are always strong, always “on top of it,” and always victorious over giants and mountains in our own strength, who is receiving the glory? God forbid that we should touch His glory! “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” 1 Corinthians 1:31b. Amen!