Anytime you begin to do what God has purposed you to do, you will awaken a sleeping giant.
Look at the story of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the citadel of Susa, acting as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes when he heard that his home, Jerusalem, was in ruins. As he entered the king’s presence, the king noticed how sad he was. Nehemiah had never been sad before! When the king asked him what was wrong, Nehemiah explained that his city was in ruins, his people were being exiled, the city walls were burning down, and his country was being torn to shreds. He found favor before the king who told him to take whatever he needed, and however long he needed, to go back to his city and meet the needs of his people.
But when Sanballat, governor of Samaria heard that Jerusalem was going to be rebuilt, he was afraid that it would thrive again. The renewed life of this city would threaten his status and rule, so he aimed to put a stop to it.
“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, ‘What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?’” —Nehemiah 4:1-2
There was no beef before! Sanballat was just doing his thing, ruling his people, but then here comes Nehemiah in God’s purposes and the giant awakens. You see, anytime we begin to step into God’s purposes, we will awaken a sleeping giant. And as we see in this story, when you awaken the giant, he will attack your identity first. Sanballat began to downgrade the people, calling them “feeble.”
If you let the enemy take hold of your identity, he can steal your purpose. As soon as you make a decision for God, the enemy will attempt to sit you right back down. He’s not worried about what God will think of you, he already knows what God thinks of you! But he doesn’t want you to know how God thinks of you. If you begin to see yourself as feeble, unrighteous, or less than, you cannot walk in the purposes God has for you. But when you start to truly believe and understand how you are viewed in God’s eyes, you begin building your identity in Him. When you begin to believe God’s truths and walk in them, you become a threat to the kingdom of darkness and therefore, you become a target.
Nehemiah found himself in the crosshairs with Sanballat. In the same way, don’t be surprised when all hell breaks loose once you stand up for God’s purpose. You have an adversary—an enemy—who wants nothing more than to steal away your purpose. And in order to understand the attacks of the enemy, we need to go back to the blueprint of creation: the garden.
‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” —Genesis 3:4-5
Satan was in the garden, deceiving the woman into thinking if she ate of the fruit, she would become like God. He was attacking her identity. But wait a minute, she had already been made in the image of God! But Satan wanted her to believe that she wasn’t good enough, that she needed more. You see, he knew that if he robbed her of her identity, he could steal her away from her destiny. Satan got into the minds of Adam and Eve and they began to disbelieve God’s Word. Anytime we begin to disbelieve, we begin to doubt, and once we doubt, we begin to disobey. Our righteousness stems from our identity in Christ, and if Satan is able to take our minds off of that, he will steal our identity.
Satan may be the destroyer of man’s identity but Jesus is the restorer of it. Satan may have won in the garden but Jesus continues to win against him! In Matthew 4 we see Jesus being tempted by Satan. How? By attacking His identity. Three times Satan says to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…” This is the same tactic that he used in the garden, in Nehemiah’s story, and he uses it against us still.
But his strategy had nothing on Jesus. Jesus won and overcame each temptation because He knew the Word. The number one way to overcome Satan is by using your mouth; the power of life and death lies in the tongue. The battlefield of the Spirit is in our thought lives but it’s conquered with our mouths. We need to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) by putting God’s Word in our hearts and into our mouths. Speak it. Meditate on it. Joshua tells us to meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8).
We need to start speaking life to ourselves so that when the enemy comes with an attack against our identity, we can say,
“In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” —Romans 8:37
“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” —Philippians 4:13
Our spiritual power is in the Word, which is in our mouths. Have God’s Word on your heart, in your mind, and on your tongue to combat the sleeping giant when he awakens. And if you aren’t facing any giants in your life, maybe you need to ask yourself the question, “Am I doing what God has called me to do?”
—LaMorris Crawford, Chaplain of the Cincinnati Bengals
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