Do you remember this scene from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark ? (Email viewers click here for video.)
Indiana’s desperate search for Marion got interrupted when the Arabian Goliath stepped forward. Like David in 1 Samuel 17, Indiana was armed with a whip and perhaps five little “stones” resting within the chambers of his gun. The swordsman flashed his weapon impressively and offered a grunt, which translated meant, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?”
If Indiana Jones had been a God-fearing man, he might have answered back, “You come against me with a flashing sword, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty! This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands!”
What are some of the sword-wielding giants you face in your desperate attempts to follow Jesus?
Believe me, I understand all of those. But I’ve also discovered a God who loves me even when I struggle with those things. When I get criticized He shows me how to dig out only the truth, make corrections, and then blow away the rest. When I’m rejected He’s proven over and over that He will never leave me. When I get a little too big for my britches, He humbles me quickly, but NEVER shames me, and He ALWAYS fights for me. It is for freedom that Christ set me free!
Christian freedom seems so foolish to those who haven’t received God’s grace. It seems too easy in a culture pulled up by its bootstraps. We wrap free gifts with suspicion and questions, like these:
- Why would God offer such a benefit without expecting some work in exchange?
“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
- But, don’t we have to do good works to be a Christian?
We do good works because we are in love with God and thrilled when we get to show it! “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.’” (John 14:23-24) That’s pretty plain. We do them out of love, not duty!
- Okay, so what about those 10 commandments? We have to do those to be right with God, don’t we?
To the expert in the Scriptures, Jesus explained that all the laws hung on just two. He said, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love our neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Sometimes, I think it’s easier for those with grace to obtain knowledge, than for those who have knowledge to accept grace. It was for me. When love becomes our filter through which we obtain knowledge, we morph into someone who looks more and more like Jesus.
As we come face to face with our giants, curious seekers begin slithering out of their dark places to watch. Whether they want to admit it or not, most long to see God’s goodness overpowering Satan’s evil. They want and need hope.
Grace teaches us to say no to things that are bad for us. (Titus 2:11-12) God’s mercy creates a thankfulness causing us to look for ways to show our love for Him, and then extend His love to others. It’s friendship with the Spirit that leads us on an incredible, exhilarating, lifelong adventure. Just go ahead and shoot your giant today. You’ve got lost people to find!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:11,14)