Most of us are familiar with the story of David and Goliath. It tells the age-old underdog tale of a scrawny, ruddy-complected shepherd boy slaying a giant who, although his height is disputed among theologians and historians, was undoubtedly a frightful force to be reckoned with.
This legendary story is so celebrated and frequently retold not only because of its triumphant, against-all-odds ending, but also because of its overflowing application for our own underdog scenarios, even those concerning our physical health.
From anorexia and obesity to a sudden cancer diagnosis or debilitating injury, our bodies will never have a shortage of foes to face. In fact, Scripture promises we will experience persecution, trials, storms and sorrows—giants, if you will—many of which will target our health directly. The question, then, isn’t if we’ll face them, but how.
It’s the beginning of a brand-new year, which means resolutions are being made for a healthier diet, goals are being set for a more active lifestyle, courage is being mustered for joining a running team or a CrossFit gym—and the enemy is gearing up to attack our aspirations from all sides and steal our joy while he’s at it.
I’m currently part of a Facebook group that has a 30-day mission to inspire and encourage each other as we chase after one short-term goal this month. Comments such as “I’ve failed at ______ so many times, I’m so afraid I’ll fail this time too,” and, “My self-control and motivation are wearing thin—what do I do?” are popping up already, alerting me to the inevitable fact that Goliaths are being unleashed left and right to intimidate, discourage and belittle until every last goal is given up.
How do we confidently combat the giants of self-doubt and negativity when our track record shows failure after failure, excuse after excuse, relapse after relapse?
When David boldly approached King Saul to tell him he’d fight Goliath, the king found David's audacity ridiculous, as anyone in their right mind would while peering down at a silly boy who’d spent his childhood playing soldier with sticks on a Bethlehem hillside. But while David might have been an unimpressive boy, he was also a formidable warrior who fought with the strength of the Lord.
David persisted in the face of Saul’s doubt and derision by relaying to him all of the miniature battles he’d already won. When a lion or bear threatened a lamb in his flock, he went after the beast with a club and rescued the helpless animal. If the predator continued after him, he would take it by the jaw and club it to death. He knew the power and protection of God firsthand and would trust Him to give him victory over his fiercest foe yet.
This is the strategy we must employ when Goliaths interrupt our lives and mock our goals with boastful shouts of supremacy. The same God who gave you the willpower to study diligently in college and work hard for your job is the same God who will supply the motivation you need to exercise regularly. The same God who’s faithfully provided the strength you’ve needed to overcome various emotional trials will give you the strength to resist the temptation of junk food, apathy and laziness. The same God who opened blind eyes and deaf ears is the same God whose Son healed your diseases by His wounds on the cross.
Don’t let the Sauls inside your head tell you you’re ill-equipped or too far gone to fight Goliath. Remember what God has done for you, and replace all thoughts of fear with declarations of faith.
With God on your side, all it takes is one smooth, faith-propelled stone to slay the giant.
Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House’s Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Total Fitness and her latest book, Perfect Fit: Weekly Wisdom and Workouts for Women of Faith and Fitness. Her popular website can be found at dianafit.com, and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925. Diana can be reached on Twitter.