“A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by man.” – Leonard Ravenhill
Soon I will graduate with a degree in Biblical & Theological Studies. I will have made my way through the assembly line designed to generate great preachers who become “qualified” to lead. Don’t get me wrong, I value education. I’ve worked hard and I’m happy about this accomplishment but I just don’t think a piece of paper with my name on it is going to quite cut it in the Kingdom. Sure it’s valuable but if all I come out with is a degree, I’ve missed something. You see, there is something far more validating than a degree and that is a history with God.
I’ll never forget the day when a mentor of mine looked me in the eye and said, “Tell God stories. If you don’t have God stories, get God stories.” There is nothing that provokes faith in me more than remembering moments when God has shown up. Testimonies raise expectancy that He will show up again. This is why a history with God is so important. It is imperative that we develop lifestyles that are filled with encounters with Yahweh in secret. This is the only thing that will sustain you. We need more God stories!
“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
Perhaps the most inspiring example of this is found in 1 Samuel 17. In case you didn’t realize it, David was a bad dude! But it wasn’t his stature that made him impressive, it was his history. David shows up at the Valley of Elah and finds Israel’s army hiding behind rocks. The Philistine’s champion, Goliath, was taunting the Israelite army and daring them to send someone worthy to fight him. David volunteers…without hesitation. We all know what happens next. David kills Goliath, takes the giant’s sword, cuts Goliath’s head off and carries it around like a trophy. Are you kidding me?
When questioned about his ability to get the job done, David remembers his history with God. David begins to recite the times where he killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands in secret and then tells Saul in verse 36, “this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them.” It was David’s life alone in the back hills of Israel playing his harp before Yahweh and killing lions and bears when no one was watching that prepared him for the moment on stage that would propel him into his destiny. I liken it to athletes. You might have seen Jordan’s buzzer beater on SportsCenter but what you didn’t see were the thousand other times he took that shot alone. I know your gift shines when you have a microphone and an audience but what are you doing when no one is watching? That my friend is the only validation for the anointing in the Kingdom. Here is my encouragement to you – you better not be arrogant enough to step in front of a Goliath unless you’ve got some lions and bears under your belt in secret first.
It’s also interesting to me that the men who were most prepared for battle were the ones trembling behind rocks. They were trained for this moment! They were qualified for that moment! You can prepare all you want but it’s only those who have been with Him in secret that will be ready when a giant needs to be killed. It’s the ones who have history that come through when it counts.
I want to leave you with this thought. Jesus referred to demons as Beelzebub, which literally means “tiny flies”. What are tiny flies when you’ve killed lions and bears in the secret place?