Taking on the Giants
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus
(Ph. 3.13b-14, NIV).
Fighting giants is, by definition, hard work. We don’t call them giants for nothing. The giants of fear and anger, bitterness and temptation are more likely to present a life-long struggle than a challenge to be won in an afternoon. And more often than not, it is the duration of the struggle that wears us down and ultimately defeats us. We are all capable of tremendous effort when the end is near and in plain sight. Much greater fortitude is required to keep going, even on an easy path, when you have no idea where or when the end will come.
I was reminded of this when Heidi and I took our girls hiking our a recent trip to visit family in Colorado. Liesl and Evie did admirably well for an 8 and 7 year old, and in fact it became clear early on that they were capable of far more than we - and especially they - imagined. The biggest obstacle (at least in the hikes we attempted) was neither the elevation nor the length, it was the fact that they don’t have a strong grasp of distance. Because of that, progress meant nothing - until the end was actually in sight. Then of course, two girls who were threatening collapse minutes before would all of the sudden discover they could run.
In many ways, taking on these giants we have discussed can feel like embarking on a hike of an unknown distance. There are times where you feel like you are making progress, but also times when the end, when victory, seems as far away as it has ever been. At those times, I like to remember C.S. Lewis’s famous comment about God: “God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.”
Lewis captures a profound truth in a concise package. God is so pleased by every effort we make out of obedience to him, by every step we take toward becoming more like Jesus. Every time we stand to face down our giants, God rejoices.
But the other half is just as true: while God rejoices over every step in the right direction, no matter how small, he will not be satisfied until we have been fully conformed to the image of his Son. He will always cheer our progress and share our joy at how far we have come, but he will also always call us to take the next step. And the next.
Fighting the giants is hard work and a long journey, but God is with us every step of the way, cheering our progress and calling us on. So let us follow Paul’s example and fight the good fight. Let us strain toward what lies ahead and press on toward the goal to win the prize, for which God himself has called us in Christ Jesus.