1 Samuel 17: 38-40
Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”1 Samuel 17:38-40
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his slink in his hand, approached the Philistine.
Most mornings I get up before my family, usually between 4 and 5 am. I make coffee, and either jump on the exercise bike for go for a walk. While I’m moving, I read something spiritual. Right now, I’m reading the Old Testament straight through.
This morning the verses above really jumped out at me. What struck me was that David would not have been successful against Goliath if he had worn the king’s helmet, armor, sword, and tunic. By wearing the king’s clothing he was tying to pass himself off as something/someone he wasn’t. Saul thought he was helping David by offering his clothes to David. But, David knew that in order to be successful against Goliath he had to be true to himself, as well as faithful to God. So, David told the king that he could not wear his battle armor because he was not used to them. They were not his. David then went and did what he was used to; what God had taught him to do. He got stones, and used his sling.
How often do we go about our day trying to be someone else, or meet the expectations of others at the expense of being true to ourselves?
When we’re not true to ourselves and our talents, we are not being true to God, either. God gives each of us talents and dreams. Every person has a purpose with God. He has granted us everything we need to do the work given to us.
Those skills talents and dreams are our “rocks and sling.” When we put on another person’s armor we are trying to use another’s tools for our work.
Let’s look at what would have happened if David had approached Goliath while wearing Saul’s battle armor.
Saul’s armor was designed and built for a man much larger and stronger than David. Most accounts of the Bible say that David was a boy. That would mean that he was not yet his full height or strength. That being the case, Saul’s battle armor would have been too heavy for David. Wearing it would have tired him out, made him weak, and zapped his strength. David wouldn’t have been able to wield Saul’s sword properly because it was crafted and balanced for a much larger man.
When David faced Goliath under the weight of someone else’s tools, he would have failed.
Instead, David thanked Saul for the suggestion, and used his own tools. The sling he was natural to him. And he was successful. He slew a giant!
How many times have you faced the challenges in your life using someone else’s talents and tools and trying to be someone you’re not. Maybe the person was more experienced than you were, or like David, the person held a higher rank than you. Instead of staying true to yourself, you take on the persona of someone else.
I know I have. We all do it.
It’s one thing to take advice, or to listen to the experiences of those who have gone before us.
It’s clearly another thing to copy someone else, and ignore our own gifts and talents. Doing so not only means being untrue to ourselves, but it’s also being untrue to God.
God has granted each of us the tools, skills, desires, and dreams to do our work on this Earth. We must learn to listen to the small voice of God inside us so that we may know ourselves well enough understand what those gifts are.
What’s this have to do with physical health, you ask?
Think about what would have happened to David if he’d worn Saul’s armor for any length of time.
David’s body would have become tired. His muscles would feel weak. He would have started to doubt his ability to defeat Goliath because of how he felt physically. That doubt would have shaken his confidence in himself, and his faith in God.
Have you ever lifted something that was too heavy for you to physically carry? You might have strained your back, pulled a muscle, or otherwise injured yourself.
Have you ever taken on a project or job that didn’t fit well with your talents and skills? You may become anxious and doubt your ability to get the job done.
What about acting like, or trying to be the person someone else wants you to be? We all do it.
It might look like going into work an hour early, or staying several hours late because your boss expects it. Maybe you’d rather spend that time with your spouse and kids.
It looks like taking on extra projects when you’re tired and know you need to rest.
It looks like doing things others ask of you when you really just want to say no so you can work on your own projects.
When you are not true to yourself your body and mind collapse under the weight of trying to be someone else. You might experience physical pain, or mental or emotional stress.
One of the first steps back to health is to learn to be true to yourself, and have faith in God to guide you. You already have everything you need.
The next step is to learn to identify who you are, and where you have been using another person’s armor.