Conquer your giants? Or conquer the Giant?

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”” (1 Sa 17:45–47)

Conquer the “Giants” before you is a common application of the David and Goliath battle. But is that accurate? Is the battle begin David and Goliath teaching us to conquer the “Goliaths” before us?

David’s battle with Goliath is bigger than you and I. It is a cosmic battle between the one true God – Yahweh – and the lifeless gods of this world. It purposes to show God will not be defeated by worldly powers no matter how great they might seem to us. God is the One who is in control and we can trust that to be the case.

Here is how one author puts its:

“Nothing contrasts the value systems of God and the world like the narrative of David and Goliath. This is not about how to take on the “giants” that stand in the way of our dreams. It is about the weak versus the strong, faith versus arrogance, the living God versus lifeless idols. It is ultimately about how God rescues his helpless people through His Spirit-anointed, faith-filled, Serpent-crushing warrior-king.” (Unfolding Grace, 233-34).

The David and Goliath narrative is about more than you and I. It is about more than our troubles. It is about the cosmic struggle between good and evil, God and Satan. It ultimately points us to Christ, who wins victory for us all. Jesus is the better and greater David who crushes the head of the serpent through His sacrificial death on the cross and finally through His victorious return.

Don’t view this as a moral tale to defeat your giants. That is to think too narrowly and selfishly. View this as a cosmic battle that provides you with ultimate victory!

5 Strategies Satan Uses To Attack Us


What are the strategies Satan uses to attack us? If we are fighting a spiritual war, we need to know his strategies. As Paul says,

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

5 Strategies of Satan

(1) Temptation – Satan seeks to entice us to sin.

His purpose is to kill or hinder our witness through public scandal. To gain evidence that would allow him to accuse our conscience. To weaken our faith in sanctification in an area of our lives. To cause us to love our sin so we start excusing it or justifying it.

(2) Deception – Satan seeks to blind us to the truth and deceive us into thinking counterfeits are the real thing.

He tells us lies about God, the world, and ourselves, hoping we will believe them. He offers false teachers, promises, peace, joy, and happiness as a way to keep us from the biblical truth.

(3) Accusation – Satan seeks to keep us in conflict with the world and one another, as well as he works to get us to question our standing before God.

He causes unbelievers to accuse us of acts those on the fringes of Christianity do. He incites division among believers so they will accuse each other. As well as he uses our sins against us continually telling us we are not good enough to be a Christian.

(4) Possession – Satan seeks to put humans under the control of demons.

He causes individuals to be overtaken by demonic agents, who control their personality and provide them with supernatural gifts – healing and paranormal knowledge.

(5) Physical Attack – Satan seeks to attack through demonic activity, human agents, or institutions.

He causes demons to attack and oppress. He uses humans to persecute. He uses institutions, such as government to hinder the growth of Christianity.


Knowing the strategies Satan uses to attack us is helpful. Especially, in light of what Peter says,

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. – 1 Peter 5:8-9

In order to be watchful and resist Him, we need to know his strategies.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you think Satan attacks?
  2. What would you add to this list?


Post adapted from Dynamics of Spiritual Life by Richard Lovelace, 137-40.


The Sanctifying Work of the Holy Spirit | Part 2

In my last post in this series, I defined sanctification and talked about the objective moment when we are set apart as God’s children. In this post, I want to introduce the concept of Progressive Sanctification.

Progressive Sanctification: A Definition

Progressive Sanctification is defined as the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to reveal our sin, in order to remove it, so that we continue to become more and more free from sin and like Christ in our daily lives. It differs from Definitive Sanctification in that it is a continual process, whereas Definitive Sanctification is an objective point in time-space history where we are set apart as Children of God.

A Process that is Never Complete

The process of Progressive Sanctification continues until our death at which time we receive our glorified bodies and finally become like Christ (1 John 3:2). Since Progressive Sanctification is never complete, we will never be without sin before Christ’s return because we live in a sinful body, and our flesh continually wars against our spirit (1 Kings 8:46; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Matt 6:11-12; Rom. 6:12-14; 7:13-25; James 3:2; 1 Jn 1:8).

Instead of reaching a state of perfection, we will continue to grow in Christ’s likeness as the Holy Spirit works in our lives. This does not mean we are to give up, throw our hands up in the air and say, “What is the point of all this then, if we will never be perfectly like Jesus this side of the grave.” Our lack of perfection does not mean we should despair or continue in sin.

We Should Not Despair

In Romans 8:15-16 Paul says,

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

We should not despair if we do not attain to perfection in this life. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our salvation and adoption as sons. We are not to be racked with guilt over our sin, nor are we to listen to the accusations of Satan that a child of God need be perfect. When we see change occurring in our lives, we can be sure the Holy Spirit is the one working to bring about that change, which proves we are God’s children.

We Should Not Continue To Sin

In Romans 6:1-7 Paul says,

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

God in His grace saves us from eternal damnation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are united with Him in His death and resurrection, so that His death and His resurrection become our death and our resurrection.

When we are united with Jesus, we are released from the bondage of sin and are free to worship and glorify God in our bodies. We no longer have to follow our former master Satan. The enslavement we once knew has been broken, and we are not to continue as we lived formerly when we were in bondage to Satan and his rule. In other words, we are not to continue to sin because we have been set free from a life of sin through our relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as we are not to presume upon the grace of God.


So we see the the process of Sanctification is also Progressive, in that it continues throughout our entire lives. As the Holy Spirit works in our life to convict us of sin, we grow more and more like Jesus in our daily lives.

We also saw Progressive Sanctification is a process that is never complete. We will never be perfect in this life because of our sinful bodies. Even so, we are not to despair because the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives testifies to our salvation and adoption as sons of God. In addition, we are not to continue to sin presuming upon God’s grace, nor are we to continue to sin because we have been freed from the bondage of sin to a life that is able to live as our Savior Jesus Christ.

Looking Forward

In my next post in this series, I will talk about how the Holy Spirit works in our lives to bring about change Monergistically (by Himself).


Jerry Bridges, The Transforming Power of the Gospel, Ch. 8

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, Ch. 38.

The Wilderness Temptation

Have you ever thought about the purpose for the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness? Have you ever wondered why immediately after He is baptized He is driven into the wilderness for 40 days by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil? The temptations themselves seem odd and random, what holds them together?

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all present us with the temptation of Jesus. Matthew and Luke provides us with the details of the temptation, while Mark gives us a short summary telling us Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. Since Matthew and Luke both provide us with a more detailed account of Jesus’ temptation, we will focus in on those texts; specifically, we will look at Matthew’s account.

Parallel with Israel and More

Besides the obvious parallel with Israel, who was in the wilderness 40 days and failed and Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and succeeded, showing He is the new Israel – the chosen and anointed one, what else can we learn from this event? In looking at the temptations Jesus faces, we see that they all are self serving temptations that would take glory away from the Father. Let’s look specifically at each temptation to see Jesus’ response and what we can learn from it.

Stones Into Bread

Jesus had been in the wilderness for forty days fasting, He would have been extremely hungry. Satan comes to Him and tempts Him to turn some stones into bread (Matt. 4:2-3). But in doing so, Jesus would have rejected God as the sustaining power of life. Look at what He says in response to Satan: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Jesus was sustained by His relationship with the Lord, He did not need to create something else in order to serve Himself, He knew the Lord would provide and would sustain Him.

The Pinnacle of the Temple

After Jesus refuses to turn the stones into bread, He is taken up to the pinnacle of the temple and is tempted to jump off, so that God will rescue Him (Matt.4:5-6). Jesus was sent to do the will of the Father, which was to go to the cross to die for the sins of mankind, so that man’s relationship with God could be restored, if man believes in Christ as their Savior. To jump off of the pinnacle of the temple, in order for God to have to save Him, would be putting the Lord to the test (Matt. 4:7). More pointedly, He would not be seeking to glorify the Father; rather, He would be serving Himself by seeking to show how important He really is to the plan of salvation.

The Kingdoms of the World

In the last temptation, Satan takes Jesus to the top of a high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He then tells Him He can have all these kingdoms if He will worship him (Satan). To which Jesus says, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve'” (Matt. 4:10). Here Jesus tells us who He is working to glorify and serve, namely, the Father.

Author’s Strategy

Jesus is not concerned with exalting Himself, He is concerned with glorifying the Father in Heaven and serving Him alone. He does not need to exalt and glorify Himself because He is perfectly content in His relationship with the Father and the Spirit. A relationship where mutual love and service has existed before the foundations of the earth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke seek to highlight this fact with their narratives. They want their readers to see that Jesus did not come to serve Himself, but to serve the Lord. In addition, in serving the Lord, He is perfectly content and joyful. He does not need to elevate Himself to a place of glory in order to find joy and happiness because He finds joy and happiness in His relationship with the Lord.


We too can experience this type of love and joy. The gospel tells us that we are more of a sinner than we ever dare thought, but at the same time it tells us that we are more accepted than we ever could imagine. By finding our acceptance in God and not in the world through self-glory or power, we will be more content and happy than we ever thought we could because we are more loved by God in Christ than we ever thought possible. Whereas the world seeks first and foremost to use others for their own benefit, the gospel places service to others at its pinnacle by showing us that Jesus was perfectly content with serving the Lord and seeking His (the Father’s) glory over His own because He loved the Father unconditionally, and He understood the joy associated with His relationship with the Father, as well as the love and service the Father reciprocated to Him.

We too can experience the same lasting eternal joy and love Jesus experiences. All we need to do is believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, that our sin separates us from God and without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins, we could not have a relationship with the Father. If you would like to learn more about the gospel message, you can read an earlier post I wrote by clicking here.

Image: prozac1 /

Continue In The Faith

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is more than a beginning in the ways of God. It is also a continuance in the faith as long as life lasts. It is the same with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon who said, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” The only true conqueror who will be crowned is the one that continues until war’s trumpet is blown no more.

The Target of Our Spiritual Enemies

Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our Spiritual enemies.

The world does not object to you being a Christian for a time if she can tempt you to give up your journey and settle down in her Vanity Fair.

The flesh will seek to entangle you and prevent you from pressing on to glory. “It is weary work being a Christian. Come, give it up. Must I always be humbled? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a vacation from this constant warfare.”

Satan will make many fierce attacks on your perseverance. It will be the target of all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service. He will insinuate that you are doing no good. He will endeavor to make you wary of suffering. He will whisper, “Curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). He will attack your steadfastness: “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest.” He will assail your doctrinal beliefs: “Why do you hold to these denominational creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal. They are removing the old landmarks. Blend in with the times.”


Wear your shield, Christian, close to your armor. Pray to God that, by His Spirit, you may endure to the end.


Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: May 26, Evening

Thoughts on the Bondage of Sin from the Aquarium

Recently, I went to the Fort Worth Zoo. While I was there, I visited the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, where I watched two small sharks swimming in a tank. Supposedly, these sharks are from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. They were transplanted from their home to an aquarium in Fort Worth Zoo where they spend their days swimming around and around. They are unable to leave their small aquarium, making it almost like a jail cell to them. They are held in bondage, limited by the glass walls the zoo erected in order to showcase them to the public. Most likely, these sharks do not know that they are encapsulated in a watery prison in Forth Worth, which exists thousands of miles away from their true home in Australia

Much like these sharks, those who have not accepted Christ as their Savior are in bondage, but believe they are free. However, no man apart from God is truly free. Instead, they are mastered and enslaved by sin (Rom. 6:14-15). Only by the saving work of Jesus Christ are we made free (Rom. 6:18).

What are we made free from?

We are free from the mastery of Satan and sin over our lives (1 John 5:19; Rom. 6:18). When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, the bondage of sin is broken (Rom. 6:7). We are no longer mastered by sin (Rom. 6:14). Instead, we are free to make our own choices, choices that we could not make apart from Christ’s redeeming work in our heart, leaving us free to work for God’s glory and not our own glory.


If we do not profess Christ as our Savior, then we are in bondage. We may believe ourselves to be free, but we are not. We are actually driven and forced by an unredeemed heart. This means everything we do is tainted by sin.

It is a popular thing right now to send relief efforts to those in need, which is a good and needed charity, but is done for the wrong reason. Meaning we help the tsunami victims in Japan because we ultimately want to promote ourselves.

Another popular bandwagon that people jump on is social justice. Fighting for equality is an important task. However, without a redeemed heart, true equality will never be realized. In actuality, those working for equality will never see those they helped gain freedom as equals. Instead, they will continue to oppress the oppressed in order to glorify themselves.


Because the natural inclination of the human heart is to promote ourselves. And we cannot change that apart from the saving work of the Gospel. Only in the Gospel are we set free from the bondage of a sinful heart.

So then, only those who are truly redeemed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ are able to work and realize true equality without oppressing the people they helped because they are not seeking to glorify themselves; rather, they are working to glorify God.


As you can see, those who do not have a redeemed heart remain in bondage to sin and are not free, even though they believe themselves to be. Instead of freedom, they are enslaved by the Devil.


There is hope. True freedom comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Look to Him as your Savior, trust that He is the only one who can set you free from the grasp of Satan, and you will be free indeed.