By Randy Bozarth
This article was originally published in the July 1998 issue of Christ For The Nations magazine.
There is a popular saying: “Wherever you go … there you are!” It means that wherever you go, you still have to face yourself. There is a subtle disease in the body of Christ today—a victim mentality which says, “I can’t do this because something stands in my way. I can’t do this because this person is in my way. I could do better if this person would help me. I could be more of a conqueror if I could just get over this mountain or get over this situation in my life.” The victim mentality has slipped into the Church. We blame everybody else for our discomfort or our lack of happiness. But we’re responsible for killing our own giants.
When we have faith in God, we have faith for the impossible; no mountain will be too big for us. And faith is not something we can catch; it’s something we have to realize in our own lives. How was it that David became a giant killer? David’s own words were, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37).
There’s a restlessness in the Body of Christ today – a restlessness which is built upon people looking to man. But faith comes through a personal experience and a relationship with God. We have a fast-food mentality in the body of Christ. If someone can’t provide it quickly enough, then we become disappointed. No pastor or Bible teacher can give us faith. We have to wrestle with faith in our own lives. We have to come to grips with what we believe. No three-point message, no tape or book can impart faith either.
When Martha thought that Jesus was late in His attendance to Lazarus, “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?’” (John 11:40). Faith will cause you to cheer on others. “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.” Man is always working with God. “Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you’” (verse 41). Jesus was full of thanksgiving. We’ve lost our thankfulness in the body of Christ.
“Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!”‘ (verse 43). There is authority when we have faith—a belief that when we pray, we will hear from God and see Him respond. There’s an authority when we speak. “And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. And Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go”‘ (verse 44). Even though we’re saved and filled with the Spirit, we are not productive until we are loosed! There’s a loosening of our spirit that happens when we begin to embrace faith as a way of life.
Jesus commanded and called Lazarus forward, but when he came forth, he was still bound. There has to be a freeing in our spirits, and only faith can do that. There’s a responsibility on our part. Because we live in a victim culture, we can easily develop a victim mentality. We too often look to others to help us get free. The world gives no hope, but the believer who believes that Jesus is still able to restore and resurrect that which is dead will see the glory of God. “Jesus said…‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 9:23).
It is imperative that you and I believe God to overcome the giants hindering our walk of faith or keeping us from knowing God. There are several giants that rob us of our faith.
The first giant is cynicism. This is faultfinding or a sneering disbelief in sincerity. Ours is a generation of cynics. People have a doubtful and disrespectful view of things in general. Even Christians are cynical. Listen to what you say, and listen to what others say. We can never walk in faith and do what God has called us to if we have a cynical spirit. It becomes a giant if we allow it to control us. If we are going to step out with boldness and take advantage of the opportunities that are before us, we have to slay the giant of cynicism.
The second giant that we must slay if we’re going to step into a life of victory is doubt. We have to embrace the implanted Word, which is able to save our souls (James 1:21). We have to decide to grow up. Being born again by the Spirit of God is a gift (Ephesians 2:8, 9), but to grow and mature is a choice. Doubt means to waver – to be undecided. The spirit of doubt is birthed in constant criticism of decisions that others make. Doubt is not a one-time event; it’s a stronghold!
The third giant is skepticism. There have been so many hucksters and rip-off artists in the last few years that believers have grown weary of even trying to believe that anything could be good or right or real. The enemy wants to steal our faith through skepticism. But we have to protect our faith. We must guard our hearts, or we’ll become cynical, doubtful or skeptical.
The fourth giant is uncertainty – the inability to find something secure on which to place our faith. We are easily defeated and find uneasiness when God doesn’t answer prayer. Soon legitimate questions turn to confusion, and we are no longer certain whether God wants to bless or judge us, love or discipline us, help or deal with us. It’s our faith that will carry us into our God-given future.
The fifth giant is discouragement. Discouragement comes when the mountains we are seeking to move won’t budge. We ask the Lord to help us with a difficult habit, but it is still there. Disappointment is real. There will always be people in our lives who disappoint us. That’s not a negative confession; that’s the truth. But faith overcomes disappointment.
Faith is the only thing that God has given us that will help us to be overcomers—the only thing that can deal with discouragement, doubt and cynicism. In 1 Samuel, the Amorites had invaded Ziklag. They burned it and took the women and children captive. David and his men wept until they could weep no more. “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). Faith – something that was already there – rose up on the inside of David, and he strengthened himself in the Lord. There’s a time to allow faith to grow in our lives, where we learn to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. We move beyond our feelings, beyond our situation into faith.
The sixth giant is apathy. Believers are often unwilling to get involved. Apathy sets in when we begin to be cynical and skeptical, full of disbelief and doubt. There’s no desire to go out of our way or suffer personal expense to see the Kingdom advanced. That’s what is happening in the Body of Christ today. Christians complain, “I’m not getting fed.” It’s primarily our responsibility to feed ourselves. If we want to be overcomers, we need to get alone with God and build our faith in God! Otherwise, we will go back around the mountain and face the same giant, the same issue, over again.
Begin to slay the giants of cynicism, doubt, skepticism, uncertainty, discouragement and apathy one by one, and watch as Lazarus comes forth. Those things that have been choking and holding us back will begin to be unwrapped. We’ll find the joy we’ve been looking for, and we’ll have a personal revival. Faith is the answer…and it is already inside all of us.
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