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How to face your giants

August 7, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.

In 2006, a Christian-based film came out entitled "Facing The Giants."

It was the story of a Christian high school football coach named Grant Taylor. From the beginning, Grant gets bad news: first, his wife is infertile, and they desperately want children. His team, the Shiloh Eagles, have never had a winning season the six years he has been coach and some of the parents are pushing the board to replace him.

After hearing an uplifting message, Grant tries to inspire his team to use faith to conquer their foes.

All of us face opposition at times. There are people with whom we do not get along well. We don't need to label such people as enemies, these are just people who oppose us; but we will have some conflict, nevertheless. Someone has said, "The quality of a person is known by the enemies he or she makes."

The Bible has much to say about relations with enemies -- chiefly how to turn an enemy into a friend. We can neutralize an enemy with love. Jesus said this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5:43 – 44), and Paul affirmed the same truth in Romans (12:20 – 21). In "The Cost of Discipleship," Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote, "The only way to overcome our enemy is by loving him... . The will of God, to which the law gives expression, is that men should defeat their enemies by loving them."

Actually, we must go a step further. We cannot defeat our enemies by loving them unless we first love God and trust in Him explicitly for every situation. The love that neutralizes enemies is an expression of the love that changes people.

Isaiah demonstrated this truth in a dramatic confrontation with Ahaz, the king of Judah. Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria had armed for war. Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, had formed an alliance. They wanted Ahaz to join the alliance, but he refused. So they marched on him. Ahaz knew of only one thing to do: strip his treasury, send tribute to the Assyrian king, make himself his vassal, and ask for help. Isaiah knew of this plan and deplored it, so he confronted Ahaz while he was inspecting the water supply, possibly preparing for a siege. This was a confrontation between a fearless man of faith and an unbelieving coward.

Assuredly, our foes are different. Your greatest problem may be your own attitudes: unbelief, doubt, skepticism. Your fiercest foe may be your marriage mate, whom one writer has called "the intimate enemy." Your fiercest foes may be those who surround you. You may be dealing with misunderstandings and mistrust that cause skirmishes with fellow workers. Your greatest foe maybe spiritual: you just cannot seem to find peace. Or perhaps you face a real foe, an enemy, a person who hates you and is out to get you. [You don't have to be an ordinary person to have foes and enemies. In 2017, Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky was out mowing his yard, when a neighbor attacked him and broke some ribs.]

What can we do when we face these foes? We are long past being scared of the Assyrians, but perhaps other things cause fear. You can face your giants with the same weapon Isaiah used to try to bring Ahaz to his senses: a belief in the faithfulness of God.

Just as the team in "Facing the Giants," we need to have a strong faith that God will deliver us.

I had an aunt who had a favorite expression that went like this: "Pray as if it all depends on God, but work like it all depends on you."

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