|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)|
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Goliath Must Fall
Winning the Battle Against Your Giants
By Louie Giglio
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2017 Louie Giglio
All rights reserved.
Bigger Than Your Giant
Recently a woman was mauled to death by her pet tiger.
I was saddened by this tragic event. But I also thought what most sane people must have thought when they read the story: Why would anyone have a pet tiger? (No offense if you've got a pet Bengal in your backyard.)
Tigers are meat eaters! They survive in the wild by hunting and killing their prey. And a tiger will always be a tiger. So why would anyone try to tempt nature by making a pet out of one of these natural-born killers?
Here's what I think happened. When the woman first met the tiger, it looked cute and cuddly. That furry little cub was small and playful. Entertaining. Endearing. I bet she held that cub tight and it purred with delight. A bond was formed. She gave her pet tiger cub a name. Maybe Mooshie or BooBoo or Stripey or Elwood. She took it home with her and gave it a warm space to sleep and a safe place to play. All was well, day after day after day after day.
Then that playful pet morphed into what it truly was and showed its true colors. It wasn't a fuzzy cub anymore. It was a savage killer. The tiger attacked and the results were heartbreaking.
It's not much different with our giants — the habits, the behaviors, the faulty beliefs, the same old broken ways we're accommodating in our lives.
These "pets" started out as cute and cuddly babies. They didn't look like they'd do us any harm. They were comforting. Reassuring. We formed bonds with these pets, and gave them a warm place to stay in our minds and hearts and behaviors.
But these same pets have grown. They're showing their true colors — and they aren't pets anymore. They're savage killers. Nine-foot-tall giants. They're ripping into us, mauling us.
We desperately want to rid ourselves of these giants.
My Own Pet Giant
Goliath wasn't born nine feet tall. And whatever has a stranglehold on you most likely didn't arrive on day one with threats of clenching you between its teeth. I'm guessing it was comforting and spoke to a need you had buried within. Your killer was camouflaged as a friend you couldn't live without. But, on the day not of your choosing, the gloves came off and the giant stepped on your throat, suffocating you with all its weight.
I've chronicled such a giant in my life in other talks and writings, and been up front about the tipping point where I fell into a deep, dark hole of depression and anxiety. If one of these behemoths is making life unbearable for you, I get it. For a time it was identified as my "anxiety disorder," a nice generic term generally accepted by people. Yet, over time, I have been able to more acutely pinpoint the giants that shoved me over the edge and into that pit. For me, understanding that anxiety is not a thing, but a symptom of something(s), has been a game changer in dealing with the enemies of God's glory in my life.
To put it mildly, I had a breakdown. That was pretty obvious to everyone around me, and a nonnegotiable reality for me. The day arrived when the baby tiger was grown. It took aim, and the consequences were drastic and almost deadly. But what's more helpful is to understand why. I've come to learn it's usually not the result of one thing or one moment, but a combination of lots of things that fester over time, rotting us from the inside until we come unhinged.
So what pushed me into the hole of anxiety and depression? Genetic tendencies? No doubt. The rush and crush of having the engine revved too high for too long? For sure. Worry? Check. But looking back I see the footprints of two of my own Goliaths: control and approval. I have a tendency to want to change whatever environment I am in. I want to make things better. I see what is, but I dream of what can be. I think like this driving through a city, sitting in traffic, eating in a restaurant, walking through a slum in Haiti, passing time between flights in an airport, waiting in a hospital. Anywhere. Anytime. I am thinking of how to create change, cast vision, and marshal people toward a common goal.
Being a change leader can be good. But it can also invite the baby cub of control into the mix. Some of you know what I mean. You're trying to control every outcome for your kids. You're sweating the stock market. You monitor all the conversations that flow throughout your crew, wanting to make sure everyone thinks the right thing and comes to the right conclusions. And like me, you find yourself staring at the ceiling when you should be deep in sleep, wondering which approach will work best to bring about the conclusion you are convinced is right.
Wanting to steer toward great outcomes is noble. But trying to control the world is disastrous. In time, controllers crack under the reality that none of us are in control.
Then there's the giant of approval. Couple my need to control with my underlying need to be liked and you have a perfect storm. This was especially true in the early days of planting the church we shepherd. Before we planted Passion City Church, being a speaker and ministry entrepreneur had been challenging for sure. We crafted stadium events in countries around the globe and forged a record label to bring music to the worldwide church. I spoke here, there, and everywhere. But if people didn't like me there was always another opportunity around the corner. Another conference. Another group of people. Another endeavor to launch.
But in planting a church you sink roots with a tribe, and in leading people week by week you quickly discover you can't please everyone. Sadly, I thought I could make everyone happy (control is talking now). And I really needed to, more than I wanted to admit. In our embryonic days, my wife, Shelley, and I got an e-mail from a friend that shattered any notion that planting a church would be easy, or that our good intentions would always be rewarded. When the giant of control met and married the giant of rejection, they tag-teamed me, tied my hands, and hurled me over the cliff. It wasn't anyone's fault but mine. Character flaws that were once smaller and manageable were now towering over me. Taunting me. Defying my God.
I was a controller who'd found he couldn't control anymore. I was an approval-seeker who'd discovered not everything he did was applauded. My pet tiger cub was a full-grown adversary I had to admit and deal with.
These are (I initially wrote were, but that's not as realistic as I'd like it to be) a couple of my giants.
What about you?
When One Voice Shuts You Down
For some of you, as soon as you read the title of this book, you knew exactly what your giant was. You didn't even need to think about it, because you battle against it every day.
Others aren't exactly sure what the name of their problem is because it's not as clear. All they know is something isn't right and they want to fix it.
A few, who read early copies of the manuscript, noted they didn't think they had any giants until they read a little more.
Either way, it's helpful to articulate what kind of giants can do us the most harm.
Maybe a giant called fear rules our lives. It's not like we walk around shaking in our boots all the time. But in our most honest moments, we know anxiety is a big piece of who we are. It shakes us up and rattles our world. It makes us dread the nighttime. The fear has begun to dominate us, and at the end of the day we know it diminishes God's glory in our life.
Maybe we're battling rejection. We grew up in a performance-based environment, and because of that we're afraid that if we don't get everything perfect we're not going to get the approval we long for. We fear that people will only love us if we produce the needed result. If we ever take a break, if we ever turn in something less than perfect, if we ever say the wrong thing, if we ever show up in the wrong outfit, if we ever go slower than the frantic pace we're going now, then all that approval is out the window.
Maybe a giant called comfort has taken hold. Comfort isn't wrong if we're talking about genuine rest that refreshes us. But comfort can become a huge problem if it morphs into complacency or entitlement. Too often we embrace the easiest path, the bare minimum, the "cush" job, the spoils of this life. But the easiest path might not be the best path, the path that Jesus invites us to take.
Maybe the giant that harms us is anger. Not rage, necessarily. Yet something smolders inside. We can't keep a lid on our temper. Every once in a while we lash out for no good reason. Something jumps out of us in anger, and we wish we could take it back. We know this anger is shutting down God's best for us, but we just can't seem to get a handle on it.
Maybe we are flat-out stuck in an addiction. Lots of different addictions taunt us, and most of us struggle with at least one. The addiction might be to a substance or behavior that's controlling us — alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling, shopping, or binge eating. Or maybe the addiction is to something subtle. The wrong kind of friend. A wrong kind of thought. Maybe we always feel we need to be the caretaker of other people — doing for them what they should do for themselves. Or we feel victimized if people don't give us the respect or love we think we deserve. Maybe we're always defensive. Or critical. We manipulate people. Or blame them. Our feelings have a way of hurting the relationships that matter, and we're not sure what to do. Well, this is just the way I am, we tell ourselves — and some days we even believe that lie.
Maybe we find ourselves tolerating the harmful thing at first, even though we know it clearly goes against God's plan. Maybe we try to justify its existence. We wrestle with it and wish it were gone. We're annoyed the harmful thing is there in the first place, but we end up giving it free rent anyway. Before we know it, the harmful thing has established a foothold. It becomes a giant. A default routine is formed. Our giant becomes a habit in the way we think or act. Some days we fight to rid ourselves of the giant, but the problem never seems to go away entirely.
How do we get rid of the giants? Jesus offers an abundant life to everyone who follows him. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy," Jesus said; "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). Jesus didn't come to earth to die on the cross and be resurrected from the grave so we could settle for a reduced amount of God's best. Jesus intended for us to "really live" (1 Thessalonians 3:8). And that means we can live freely in the power of what he has accomplished for us.
It starts with seeing and believing that whatever giant we're battling might be big — but it's not bigger than Jesus. Nine feet tall is nothing to him. And he intends to set you free.
We're going to see this in a powerful way as we unpack the story of David and Goliath. I'm guessing you've heard this tale somewhere along the line. If not, get ready. It's a gripping tale jammed with possibility for you. I've heard this story since my days as a kid in church. But there's a fresh twist that's been exploding in my heart more recently. A life-altering way of seeing Jesus in the story that changes everything about the way your giant is going down.
The Kid Comes to Death Valley
The backdrop of the story of David and Goliath, to catch us all up to speed, is that the ancient army of the Philistines was fighting against the army of Israel, the people of God. This was a pattern all throughout the Old Testament: the Philistine army was a constant thorn in the side of God's people, and the two armies often clashed. The Philistines have a god of their own, an idol we'll see more about in a moment. They were vile and surly, haters of the people who claimed allegiance to the one true God.
A lot of times throughout the story of Scripture, the Philistines had the upper hand, and that was the case when this particular story unfolds in 1 Samuel 17. Here's the backdrop.
Picture a particular valley in ancient Israel. It's stubbly and rocky and green and thorny. It's called the Valley of Elah, and through that valley flows the Brook of Elah. You'd think such a bucolic scene would be peaceful, inviting. But it isn't. It's soon going to be the valley of death.
Flanking each side of the brook is a hillside. The Philistine army was camped on one hillside, and the army of Israel was camped on the other side. Each army would camp in their tents at night, then each morning they'd come out to their places of battle. They could look right across the valley to stare each other down.
When our story opens, the two armies weren't doing much actual fighting. The army of Israel was being held back from advancing — and the guy holding back the Israelites from doing their real work was a crude brawler named Goliath, a big, huge, giant Philistine, nine feet tall, a champion fighter, a fierce and awesome-looking black-bearded warrior with thick body armor.
Every day Goliath would come out and yell insults at the army of Israel. He'd stride right down into the valley with his army behind him, glare up at the opposing hillside at the Israelite army, and shout with a sneer, "Cowards! You and your God are not big enough to take on us. I challenge you to a fight, and I defy your God! If anyone's brave enough to fight me, then come on down. Whoever wins the fight will win the whole war. The losing army will serve the winning army. All you gotta do is get past me." (That's not exactly what it says in 1 Samuel, but you get the idea.)
Day after day Goliath did this. A week passed. Two weeks. Three weeks. Four. Day after day, the insults continued. Day after day, none of the Israelites dared to go down to fight. The Bible says Goliath did this for a full forty days, yet even then, not a single soldier from the highly trained army of the people of God could stomach the thought of facing Goliath alone. Goliath must have let out a slew of insults. He shouted and taunted. He harassed and mocked. He agitated and coaxed and cajoled and scoffed, but still no one would fight him alone.
The Israelite army was intimidated.
The sound of a single bad voice had shut down the Israelites. Can you relate? They'd lost the fight, and they hadn't even gone to battle yet.
Step back for a moment and consider who the ancient Israelites were. It's hard to know exactly why they'd allowed themselves to become so intimidated. God had a rich history with these people. He'd chosen them as his own. He'd given them his presence. All they had to do was look to their times gone by to see how God had miraculously removed them from slavery in Egypt. He'd spilt the sea wide-open before them. Once they were safely through, its waters crashed down and wiped out the enemies pursuing them. He'd guided them through the Sinai wilderness with a cloud in the day and by fire at night. When they were thirsty, God made water appear. When they were hungry, God gave them manna to eat. He'd taken them across the Jordan River and brought them into the promised land. They'd conquered the highly fortified city of Jericho thanks to God's mighty outstretched arm. A shout of praise brought Jericho's walls tumbling down. Time and time again, God had done miraculous things for his people.
But they'd forgotten.
They weren't tapping into how all-powerful their God was, and how if they would just trust him and follow him and lean into him, then they'd have access to that same power in their lives again.
In fairness, we've got to give the Israelite army a bit of a break. Personally, I've never fought a nine-foot giant before. I've never really fought another human being before, and I can't say that I'd have the grit to go up against an armor-plated warrior standing three feet taller than me.
But what if he had threatened the people I love? There's a good chance I'd take a shot at a nine-foot giant then. Particularly if I had a sword in my hand and my own armor on. Yet not a single one of the Israelites were willing to enter into the fray. Every day the people of God were shut down by one harassing voice. What a gloomy thought. One loud, uncouth man was paralyzing the entire army of God.
Fortunately, help was on the way. And it was coming from an unlikely source.
On the fortieth day, a kid named David came up to the outskirts of the Israelite camp. Most folks at the time didn't think David was anything special. The only person who'd ever thought much of him was an old prophet named Samuel, who'd come to the family's house once and anointed David's head with oil. But that had been awhile back. David was the youngest of a whole raft of older brothers. They were taller than he was. Tougher than he was. More handsome.
While the men in the family went off to do the fighting, David's job was to stay home with his aged father and take care of the family sheep.
On that particular day when he came to camp, David was bringing supplies to his older brothers who were up on the line. Basically, David was just a delivery boy.
The kid everybody yelled at to bring more cheese.
Excerpted from Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio. Copyright © 2017 Louie Giglio. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Overture: Your Giant Is Going Down ix
1 Bigger Than Your Giant 1
2 Dead but Still Deadly 27
3 Fear Must Fall 51
4 Rejection Must Fall 79
5 Comfort Must Fall 107
Interlude: Your Giant Is Dead 133
6 Anger Must Fall 139
7 Addiction Must Fall 167
8 A Table in the Presence 193
9 Fuel for the Fight 225
About the Author 249