18 – Two Questions That Determine Your Life

CCR PC 18 Two Questions that determine your life

Your life is made up of a series of questions which have been answered by yourself and those around you. “Should I turn left or should I turn right?” “Do I work here or there?” “Can I see myself spending the rest of my life with this person?” “What is all of this really about?” Our journey of faith began with two questions, and at some point in our lives each one of us must answer two key and monumental questions.

            1) Who is Jesus?

            2) What Will I Do With Him?

find more information at https://conwaychristianresources.com

Pick up your copy of either of my books Six Minutes of Grace: The Key to Finding Happiness and Purpose” and “Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian Beliefs” today on paperback from Amazon or conwaychristianresources.com/shop or as an eBook from Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes.

Life Beyond Church Ep. 16: Understanding The Glory of God

“Glory to God,” this is something that most Christians have heard at one point, maybe in a song, or while someone was preaching or even while reading the Bible. But what does it mean, what is glory, what does it have to do with God and how to we give glory to Him?

17 – How To Demonstrate Our Love For God

CCR PC 17 How To Demonstrate our Love for God

Check out the article behind this podcast:

https://conwaychristianresources.com/2018/10/blog/demonstrate-love-god/

Do you love God, if so how can you prove it? Jesus laid out for us a simple yet profound formula on how to demonstrate our love for God. But what is it and how can that truth reshape our hearts and lives?

find more information at https://conwaychristianresources.com

Pick up your copy of either of my books Six Minutes of Grace: The Key to Finding Happiness and Purpose” and “Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian Beliefs” today on paperback from Amazon or conwaychristianresources.com/shop or as an eBook from Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes.

How The Faithful Overcome Challenges

As we’ve seen over the past few weeks the life of David so far has been a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. From his anointing by Samuel, to defeating Goliath all the way to having Saul hurl spears at him. The picture we are seeing through David’s life is one where someone who is anointed and faithful overcomes obstacles and challenges. How we face these challenges and trials ends up proving not just to God but ourselves that we can actually accomplish the great things God has planned for us in our lives.

We need to get one thing straight right off of the bat, being anointed or having God’s favor is not a free-pass to a trouble free life where you just float around and everything falls into your lap. We need to understand and accept the idea that “anointing equals work,” we see this play out in the lives of not just David but also Joseph, Abraham, Moses and Paul. These were all people who were called and commissioned by God but they had to put in the effort to see the benefits of God’s promises become a reality.

Being anointed or having God’s favor is not a free-pass to a trouble free life where you just float around and everything falls into your lap.

Moses didn’t deliver Israel while he was shepherding in Midian, Abraham didn’t become the father of the covenant because he decided to stay in Ur, Joseph wasn’t promoted because he grumbled and complained while doing as little work as possible, and Paul didn’t become the great apostle by remaining in Damascus to meditate on his encounter with Jesus. All of these people had to not just put in the work but they had to struggle through the difficult times.

Don’t you think Moses would of preferred to not lead a people that complained the way the exilic Israelites did, or do you think Abraham would of preferred to stay in the metropolitan hub of Ur. Or what about Joseph I’m sure he would have been happier not being in the prison for those years, and I bet Paul didn’t want to postpone the launch of his evangelistic association by an entire decade so he can go back to Tarsus.

This concept of anointing equals work is not the exclusive property of those during the Biblical era it is something we deal with also right here and right now under the New Covenant. No matter how much faith or grace we have there will still be struggles to face and walls of impossibility which will pop up on our path towards God’s purpose for our lives.

So  we shouldn’t be surprised when we encounter difficulties, slow-downs, detours, challenges or the like because it is in these frustrations that God is trying to refine us so we can become someone better. Not because we have the natural means to do so, no rather we become better and more refined because in these times we learn to walk even closer to God, and the closer we are to him the better we will recognize the answers to our prayers and understand the miracles he is doing all around us.

This concept of anointing equals work is not the exclusive property of those during the Biblical era it is something we deal with also right here and right now under the New Covenant. No matter how much faith or grace we have there will still be struggles to face and walls of impossibility which will pop up on our path towards God’s purpose for our lives.

We shouldn’t be surprised when we encounter difficulties, slow-downs, detours, challenges or the like because it is in these frustrations that God is trying to refine us so we can become someone better. Not because we have the natural means to do so, no rather we become better and more refined because in these times we learn to walk even closer to God, and the closer we are to him the better we will recognize the answers to our prayers and understand the miracles he is doing all around us.

Jealousy Leads To Hatred

David faced many of these seasons of challenges and trials but each one was allowed by God to advance and refine David into a person who could be a true King over the people. So that brings us to 1 Samuel 18 where David has defeated Goliath and has become a key part of the Israelite army while remaining Saul’s royal minstrel.

As time went on the people began praised David in the streets saying how he had killed tens of thousands of their enemies while Saul had only killed thousands. This isn’t a literal number but rather it shows how the people saw David as the greater warrior and protector of Israel. They no longer saw Saul who was head and shoulders taller than the rest as their mighty warrior and this also lead them to believe that God was showing more favor to David than to Saul.

Last week we saw how a deep jealousy started to take hold of Saul’s heart and now we witness how that jealousy transformed into hatred and culminated in a murderous desire. In Saul’s eyes David was no longer the poor shepherd boy that played the harp but rather his competition for the love and support of the people. Everything Saul had built and the lives of his children hung in the balance, David was seen as the usurper of the throne so Saul in one of his fits tried to deal with his problem.


1 Samuel 18:9-10 “Now the distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing music with his hand. 10 Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night.


Saul’s fear was taking over his mind, Saul remembered the words of Samuel and knew that God had rejected him and it was only a matter of time before his replacement came looking for the throne. Seeing the prowess of David and the way the people praised and loved him it was not a surprise that Saul began to fear David (1 Samuel 18:12, 15, and 29). Saul also realized that “the Lord was with David” (1 Samuel 18:12, 14, 28) which meant that David was a strong contender to be the next king, since Saul’s only real qualification to be king was God’s anointing and Samuel’s recognition.


1 Samuel 18:14-15 “14 And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. 15 Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.


Honey In One Hand and Hornets In The Other

Now we come to 1 Samuel 18:17-27, here after seeing David advance so quickly in the eyes of the people and among the army, Saul came up with a plan to get David killed. Since the people would be in an uproar if Saul did it himself he had the idea to use his daughter as bait so David could be lured into a place where Saul’s actual enemies could kill his perceived enemy David (1 Samuel 18:17).

Unlike the promises that were given to the one that killed Goliath, Saul didn’t allow his daughter to marry David, and we have no evidence that any of the other promises of riches and tax exemption were ever given to David. Saul then decided to use this broken promise to his advantage. At first Saul offered his oldest daughter Merab as a wife for David but at the last minute gave her to Adriel the Meholathite (this would have dire consequences years later in 2 Samuel 21:8).

However Saul then offered his second daughter Michal to David, an offer which was financially impossible for David to accept. David was honest about his poverty (1 Samuel 18:23) and recognized that Michal did have feelings for him so David was in a difficult position, a position which Saul was about to exploit. Instead of a traditional dowry Saul asked for (how can I put this nicely) “trophies” from 100 Philistines. This wasn’t uncommon as there are recorded instances of battle trophies or victories being used as a form of dowry in the region at the time. Saul asked specifically for the foreskins because they were the only tribe of people in the region which didn’t practice circumcision, guaranteeing that David would fight only the Philistines.

Upon hearing the price to be paid and what was involved David didn’t huff and puff or file a grievance about already being promised a princess for killing Goliath. Rather David reacted in humility and didn’t back down from the challenge. This is a far cry from how many Christians would respond to similar situations where a bit of extra work is required to received what was already promised to you. David didn’t grumble and complain but recognized the prize that was available and went our happily to earn that prize.

Upon hearing the price to be paid and what was involved David didn’t huff and puff or file a grievance about already being promised a princess for killing Goliath. Rather David reacted in humility and didn’t back down from the challenge.

With the agreement set David and some of his forces went out and took not 100 “trophies” but 200 of them (1 Samuel 18:27). This wasn’t just about Michal but it was also about protecting the nation from this invading force. Then to Saul’s surprise David returned with double of what was asked for him, so he was forced to allow David and Michal to marry. David went above and beyond what was asked of him, not because he was commanded it but he saw not just the short-term blessing but the long-term results from faithfully doing what he was called to do.


1 Samuel 18:28-30 “28 Thus Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him; 29 and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David’s enemy continually. 30 Then the princes of the Philistines went out to war. And so it was, whenever they went out, that David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed.”


However that victory alone didn’t guarantee that David and Michal lived happily ever after. Years later David took a second wife named Abigail (1 Samuel 25:39-42) because Saul took Michal away for a time and gave her to another man (1 Samuel 25:44), and then there was the affair with Bathsheba. Michal herself later became the wife who criticized David for dancing unashamedly before the ark (2 Samuel 6:18-23).

It is also ironic that the plot Saul used to try and kill David is essentially the same thing David did to Uriah years later as well, as he was also sent into an unwinnable battle, but unlike David he did not survive (2 Samuel 11:15).

Faith To Continue On Despite Opposition

What do we do with this story? I know most of you don’t have a king offering a princess in exchange for fighting an army of Philistines. However what is playing out here is how God is able to take the plan of an enemy and turn it into either a blessing or to propel you further into your calling. Marrying Michal as we see didn’t transform David into a king, but the challenge before him was used to test his heart to see if he would be faithful and to see if he was willing to do what was necessary to receive the prize.

At different points of our lives we too will face a similar situation where something impossible for us to attain is placed within reach but we need to take action to receive it. At times its an opportunity at your job, or it’s a natural blessing either way we need to be ready to walk hand in hand with God to do our part to receive it. We do this through action combined with prayer and we need to be honest with ourselves that it’s never one or the other.

We need to have a lifestyle of prayer and then take what God has shown us and put our feet to the floor and run towards it.  It’s not always easy, just look at the lives of those I mentioned earlier the likes of Abraham, Moses, Joseph and Paul. It took work and effort in combination to their relationship with God for mighty things to take place in their lives.

Action combined with prayer is just one part of this process we also need faith and its ultimate expression which is faithfulness. Faithfulness is the key in God’s eyes because God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) just because things don’t look so great today doesn’t mean that God isn’t leading you to a place which is.

Faithfulness is the key in God’s eyes because God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) just because things don’t look so great today doesn’t mean that God isn’t leading you to a place which is.

Trials and spiritual battles such as these encourages us to have faith for greater things and it shows us that God leads us through trials at times because there is a blessing or promotion waiting for us on the other side of the battlefield. A blessing or promotion which would have been otherwise unattainable if we just continued to coast by and avoided the challenges God was brining (or allowing to come) to our lives.

The Christian life is one of movement where God is constantly leading us to different places (emotionally, spiritually or physically) just as a shepherd leads his flock from pasture to pasture. There is no wormhole which takes you from one part of God’s map to the farthest edges of it in an instant. This path is there for a reason so that your life has a direction which was prepared by someone else in anticipation of you walking along it later on.

We are not just wandering the virgin forests of the world with no paths or direction to follow. We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us as a grand compass for our lives to carry us to greater things so the kingdom can be expanded and our lives and better reflect Jesus to the world.

Team’s Bring Victory Over Challenges

But we can’t do this alone, did you notice in this story that David didn’t go alone to fight those Philistines, he brought others with him. It would have been impossible for David to accomplish this task and his entire life’s calling for that matter alone and without any help. While some may see David’s life at this point as a series of broken promises and unnecessary victories I rather see this as David’s season of recruitment. During this time the likes of Jonathan and Michal sided with David and protected him from their father. David also made relationships with his fellow soldiers who would follow him into the wilderness and later the royal court years later.

We must understand this point above all others, God created us in and for community so that we can help each other accomplish the great things God has planned for us. People may come and go from your life but at different seasons God will bring about the perfect people to help you in your life, and conversely, he will bring you to other people so they can be helped in their battles against the challenges of life and the enemy. There will be days where you are playing the role of David and there are days where you will play the role of the unnamed soldier who helped David achieve a victory. In both cases you must remain humble, full of faith, devoted to prayer/relationship with God and ready to take action.

There will be days where you are playing the role of David and there are days where you will play the role of the unnamed soldier who helped David achieve a victory.

This story recounts just one victory for David and it didn’t cancel out what was going to happen next, actually it made things worse. However, God was involved here and He was preparing David to grow into the next phase of his calling the season of wilderness and activation. At the same time we can’t forget that David wouldn’t of survived chapter 19 and entered that next phase of his calling if he didn’t faithfully face challenges set before him in chapter 18.


Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (NKJV)


To go deeper in your journey with Christ check out my new book Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian beliefs which is now on sale. Available in paperback (Canada or USA) and eBook! Get your copy today and discover not just your purpose but how you can build the Kingdom of God here on the Earth

 
Creative Commons LicenseHow The Faithful Overcome Challenges Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
 

Life Beyond Church Ep. 15: Why The Church Fails To Conquer The Gates Of Hell

Jesus said the the gates of hell will not prevail, but what does that mean and how are we able to no just withstand the attacks of the enemy but fight back?