Whose Armor are you wearing?

There is an incredible story I’m sure you know so well; the story where a shepherd boy faces a giant:

1 Samuel 17

King Saul and the Israelite’s made camp in the Valley of Elah where they stayed on one side of the valley on the hill and the Philistines camped on the opposite side of the valley on that hill.  The lines were drawn and a champion, a scary deep toned giant Philistine, comes forward every day for forty days challenging Israel.  He wants just one of Saul’s men to step forward and fight him to the death and whoever wins, wins for their nation and the loser would be the winning nation’s subjects.  No man had the courage to face him, not a single warrior from Israel.  They listened to his challenge and hoped against hope someone other than themselves would come forward to put their life on the line. Not one of the soldiers had enough courage to try.

Jesse’s sons are there, part of the warriors camped on the hill, and he sends his youngest, David, to check on them.  David gets there and hears the challenge the terrifying Philistine yells.  He begins to question the situation and word gets back to King Saul of what David has said so he sends for David.

David has now been summoned into the King’s presence and he makes his case that he is not just a young inexperienced shepherd boy who doesn’t know how to fight!  No! He serves God and God has saved him from not only the paw of a bear but the paw of a lion and through those battles God trained his young heart how to fight like a warrior, how to be brave and bold in God’s victory and power.

The man who should be stepping up, the man who is experienced in battle, the leader and king of Israel gives David his blessing to go and fight the Philistine.  Saul, a warrior, a manly man, who is a head taller than other men, takes his armor and places it on David, a young man not yet fully grown into his feet or his chest.  I have to think Saul truly had good intentions in this moment to take care of the only brave man standing on Israel’s side, the only one who is willing to face this dangerous threat to Israel.  He wanted David to walk into battle with the best armor available, his armor, because he wanted victory for David, victory for Israel, victory for himself.

Here’s where it gets really good:

This skinny lanky shepherd boy respectfully allows the king to place the armor on him and then he tries to walk around in them; but he couldn’t walk right.  The armor did not fit him.  This young man then does the unthinkable, he turns to the king of Israel in verse 39, “”I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.”  So he took them off.”  He then stands on the armor God had given him, his God identity, a staff, 5 smooth stones in a pouch, and his sling and he goes out to face the giant knowing and trusting that God is with him and that God will fight for him.

He finds victory that day in the armor God designed just for him.

Every day we face the unknown, we face challenges and giants, we face joys and fears, and we face choices.  Sometimes the choices aren’t so easy and life gets confusing.  Every morning we get up and we step into our armor.  We step out into battle.  You know God has designed you with a purpose and has armor that fits only you!  He has wired you in His image and given you an identity in Him!  You are not an accident and the King of Kings has armor that fits you perfectly.  This world is going to offer all different types of armor some will fit a bit, others not at all, and still others might fit for a time but you may grow out of them.  We have to stay close to God, like David who knew God was with him always, and allow Him to put the armor onto us that fits just perfect.  We have to be brave enough to hold tightly to Him and allow His voice to be the only one that matters, the only one we listen to, the only one we allow influence over what armor we wear.

We have a job to do in this world! We have to stand up and run, chasing Jesus, and allow Him to grow us and build us into the warriors He has for us to be.  Our identity should be founded solely in who He says we are!  Let’s take off the armor that doesn’t fit and allow Him the control to place the right armor on us that will allow us to go and love like Christ!



Servant Hearted Leadership Following the Leader of Leaders

School is sprinting full force straight at us and parents, teachers, and administrators face, with great anticipation, the huge job ahead of them.  A job that truly is not seen in the now.  Our job is touching, reaching, and changing the future. There are moments in the classroom that change the world for kids. There are moments that will give hope and grace to kids who have never known hope or grace. There are moments where those same kids will feel like they are heard and they matter and that might possibly be the first time they have ever felt that way.  There are moments that allow a future to unfold in a way that child never dreamed it possibly could.

So how do we as adults, educators and parents, change the future?

In 1 Kings 3 we see Solomon entering his kingship. His throne has been established and he has gone up to Gibeon to make a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. While he is there, during the night in a dream, God comes to Solomon and says, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you (verse 5).”

This is the moment of a lifetime, Solomon could ask for anything! Fame, fortune, long life, he can have it all and God has given him the chance to think of the thing he most longs for and values.

What would you ask for? Where would your heart be?

Solomon answers so graciously in verse 6, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.”

He knew he had nothing to do with achieving the throne. He accepts that God is allowing him the chance and honor to ask for anything his heart desires and his heart is already aligned in the right direction making his request all the more humble in verses 8 and 9, “Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

Solomon’s concern is servant centered. He understands the throne is from God and the people belong to God and furthermore he is extremely aware that he is not equip to serve them as their leader.

Teachers are working tirelessly to prepare to walk into classrooms full of students. As we get ready to step through that threshold on the first day and meet those anxious, excited, eager faces our prayer should be like Solomon’s, “God, thank you for this honor!  These kids are yours and this job is yours.  I did not get here on my own. Please give me a discerning heart to serve these kids so that I always point them to you and they see you!”

True leadership is surrendered; it is submitted to the King of Kings. Solomon understood this concept. He knew he was part of David’s legacy.

You will lead someone and in that leading you have a true honest responsibility. How will you carry out that responsibility? How will you serve? Where is your heart?

Leadership carried out responsibly involves following someone. King David followed God and longed to have a heart like him and passed that legacy onto his son Solomon.

Growing up my mom always told me to choose carefully who I followed by looking at who was leading them. There are so many wonderful people who have poured into me over the last 34 years and two very special heroes.   I would like to point out one in particular whose display of a servant heart changed my life. When I met him I was a starry-eyed immature wanna-be teacher. He met me with a smile and a kindness I hadn’t seen many times and he tried to prepare me for the job and journey I was fixing to step head first into. His job was simply to make me a teacher and my job was to soak up every last thing I could over a very short twelve week span. I had no idea that God would completely turn over my life and my heart in twelve weeks.

Leadership is all about the heart; a servant heart. What I learned over those twelve weeks was all about the heart. He showed me a kindness and love for teaching and for others in a new way that I  had not seen before.  I learned how to be patient, how to serve students, and how to speak in front of others without fear because God would be with me.  His heart for God was always evident, every moment of every day.  I watched him show every student and adult Christ through his actions and words as he served. He truly served others where they were at always meeting them at their hearts.  At the end of the twelve weeks my heart was broken knowing I would not get to see that type of Christ centered service day in and day out.  His eyes, his focus, were always on the cross.

My friend, my mentor, my hero understands what having a heart like God looks like and he serves others endlessly showing them Jesus by serving them and meeting them where they are at.

Solomon was trying to be a chaser of God’s heart like his father, David. He understood that he needed that heart and drive to be a good leader. He asked God for wisdom; a discerning heart that would allow him to lead and serve the people of Israel.  He was following God.  He was a leader following the Leader of leaders.

Leadership is tough. It is a burden that we all carry and only few can handle. You will lead someone; point them in the right direction by chasing with all your being after Jesus.  Servanthood will change the future and create a hope in our youth.  Show them Jesus through serving and loving them with a heart for God.  If you do this you will have someone follow you and it will change their lives…it quite possibly will save their lives.