Stand Up to Your Bullies!

“In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea.” (1 Chronicles 20:6-7 NLT)

When I started seventh grade it was right after we’d moved, so I was attending a new school and I literally didn’t know a single student. What was worse, I was the proverbial “98-pound weakling.” I was 5’ 10” tall, the same height as I am now, but I didn’t yet weigh 100 pounds. It must have been obvious to the school bully, because he lost no time cornering me with his “goons” and making my life miserable.

After a couple of weeks of his hounding and humiliating tactics, I’d had enough. In gym class, when I had my shorts and t-shirt on, and looking my awesome best, he got right up in my face. Using words I’d never heard, he outlined exactly what he was going to do to me, where he was going to hit me, and how hard.

With uncharacteristic calm I looked him square in his eyes and said to him: “Okay, but you’d better know what you’re doing!” He smiled and sent his right fist straight to my face, but stopping just short, he smiled, retracted his fist, sticking his hand out to me to shake. I’d just made my first friend!

Photo by Alexander Dummer on

Our bullies come in all sizes and shapes. Sometimes they’re our two-year-old – defiant and unruly, but other times they’re the voices in our head that belittle and degrade us. Like the giant Philistine, they tower over us causing us to withdraw in fear. Fear is one of Satan’s most effective “giants.” Coupled with discouragement, fear can cripple the best of us.

Regardless of how long we’ve served the Lord or walked in the strength of His Holy Spirit, we all have moments of weakness and doubt. We don’t necessarily doubt the Lord, but we doubt He’ll provide what we need in any given moment. And ironically, it’s often right on the heels of a spiritual victory.

That great service we left just beaming with strength and courage to face the new week. Or right after that retreat we attended that was exactly what we needed, leaving us certain that discouragement, doubt, and fear were all in our rearview mirror. Then someone stops too quickly in front of us, spilling piping hot coffee all over our new outfit. Or we have a huge disagreement with our spouse on the way out the door to give our testimony at a group meeting.

Our foe is rarely subtle and never attacks when it’s convenient or when we’re feeling prepared for battle. We’re susceptible in different ways, but all of us are nonetheless vulnerable to attack. So, what can we do when those inevitable skirmishes with our spiritual enemy arise?

When the Philistine defied the God of Israel and belittled His army, just like David when facing his giant, Jonathan, David’s nephew, killed the giant that taunted him. Just as I learned in Junior High, bullies will often backoff when confronted with someone who won’t backdown.

Satan is a defeated foe and while we may sometimes doubt this, he is no match for you and Jesus. Just as Jesus was the mirror image of His Father in heaven, His plan for us is that we would so reflect His likeness that Satan has no choice but to flee when we face him in the might of Christ.

James 4:7 reminds us: “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” Stand strong in the face of opposition knowing you are never standing alone!

Blessings, Ed 😊

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