As I was growing up my wardrobe consisted of a few things I liked to wear (or my parents liked me to wear) and the rest of my clothing range was made up of hand-me-downs from my older brother, cousin, uncle and any other willing donor. I never minded because clothing has never really been a high priority to me; my philosophy is wear it until it wears out (which is why you don’t have very trendy pastor).
Getting hand-downs is great; suddenly you get a new set of clothing, but those clothes were never bought with you in mind. Someone has had their use out of them and now they are passing them on. They were not bought with your style or figure in mind and now suddenly they are yours and if the size is a little out or the style a little different you make it work, after all it is free!
In the story of David defeating Goliath we have this small section of scripture where Saul has heard David is willing to go and fight the giant and he calls for him to be brought to him. The rest of Israel, including David’s brothers and King Saul’s greatest warriors, are afraid but David has courage and faith.
‘So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. 1 Sam 17:38-39
Saul (in an act of cowardice) tries to force David to put on his own kingly armour. Here are a few points to pick up from this exchange:
- The armour did not fit: The armour was created and made for Saul, for his figure and stature. Saul was a tall and strong man and David was a still developing teenager. Someone else’s armour does not fit us. There are lots of ministries and people that we can admire and learn from but we cannot be someone else. We must stop being caught up in and pulled into the comparison trap.
- He was forced to wear it: We cannot allow ourselves to come under expectations that are unfair or even ungodly. We should not allow ourselves to be forced to live under the expectations of others.
- He passed the humility test: Kingly armour was a symbol of significance. Getting to wear it in front of the crowd would have been an incredible honour. But while David would be King one day and wear kingly armour, it was not yet his time. David was anointed King in the chapter before but he would not sit on throne for years to come. David, by refusing to wear the armour and kings tunic, was passing a test of pride given by God.
- He could not walk in Saul’s armour: wearing someone else’s armour will affect our walk with God. Our walk will slow up, change or come out of line
- He had to trade faith: All the faith he had about taking down the giant would need to be shelved and his trust would be in armour and sword. We can trade our faith, vision, dreams if we decide to walk in someone else’s armour.
- He knew his skill-set: David had to be sure of what he was gifted to do and at that stage of his life it was not swords and armour, it was slings and stones. We need confidence in what we are gifted at and develop our gifts instead of obsessing over our weaknesses.
- His faith exposed cowardice in others: David was criticised by his older brother and probably Saul and his counsellors but that was because his faith showed up a major flaw in their spirituality. When we walk in our gifting and God’s courage we must must get ready to face some criticism.
- Never underestimate anyone: This story proves we should not underestimate someone because they are young. We should not underestimate anyone who God’s Holy Spirit lives within. God chose David because he was a man after his own heart; God’s choosing was based on a heart condition and not age, experience, gender or background.
- Take it off: Scripture says David took it all off. Whatever armour you wear that was not made for you, that does not fit you, that was not created with you in mind, cast it off. What spiritual hand-me-downs are you struggling with that you need to take off? Whose armour are you wearing?