What does it look like when what you are doing doesn’t fit who you are? Many times thats the testimony of good intentioned people who are just trying to serve the best way that they can. Unintentionally, we are convinced that duty is apart of our religious requirement and the wild part of who we are is to be suppressed until it can be qualified by someone who has been quieted by their own compromise. It’s not always that pronounced or even that drastic, but the real issue that faces so many people is, why doesn’t it feel like I fit when I am constantly trying to do the right thing? Trying to find a place to serve, hoping to find a groove, or constantly praying for breakthrough with little hope. These are the common symptoms of a situation that may be much more personal that than you doing something different. Most of the time it doesn’t have to do with what you are doing, it has more to do with what you’ve exchanged your heart for.
1 Samuel tells the all familiar story of David, the shepherd that was coming to serve his family and found an entire nation paralyzed by fear because of what seemed like an impossible situation. Having already been anointed by Samuel to be the king, David didn’t assume position, but went back to serving his family and the sheep. But when David came to serve his brothers a little cheese and bread, he found himself in a moment that would define what it means to come, IN the name of the Lord. As the story goes, David volunteers himself to be the one to meet the giant in the valley. His willingness to confront the giant came as a surprise to all that heard that bold statement. David’s motivation wasn’t for fame or for the drive for battle, his motivation was purely based upon understanding his covenant with the Lord. This wasn’t a move to climb the leadership ladder, this was responding to a righteous mandate that came from his intimacy with Yahweh.
King Saul’s response to David was, if you are going to do this you need to clothe yourself differently than the way you are clothed right now. Saul immediately saw David as a vulnerable and Saul also saw an opportunity. Vulnerable in the appearance and qualification based upon the flesh alone. As an opportunity Saul put him in his own armor to make him look like a qualified soldier. As David put on what Saul gave him, he immediately recognized that what was on him didn’t fit him. This beloved shepherd never considered it as an option to wear the armor that he never used before. He knew the only way he needed to face the giant was with the tools of his testimony that qualified him in the silence of the hillside. You see, David used weapons, but they were the weapons of a shepherd that he used time and again to protect the sheep he was given charge of. He was unfamiliar with the weapons of a soldier, but he was well versed with the tools of a shepherd. So instead of letting the pressure of a moment turn him into a warrior, he let his encounter alone determine his response in public.
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As David comes to the field of battle, it doesn’t make any mention of hesitation or doubt. In fact it gives us a clear picture of just the opposite. It says that David runs toward Goliath and makes the claim that he would have his victory that day and it would cost the giant his life. That is a person who knows that nothing is impossible because of His covenant with Yahweh. So he makes the standard clear when he says, “I don’t come to you with swords or spears, but I come to you IN the name of the Lord.” This should be the qualification and standard for every believer. But the problem with that is too many people are wearing what doesn’t belong to them. Instead of the identity that they received in the mountain of devotion, people are exchanging their testimony for people’s expectations of them.
What would it look like today if people stopped giving up their testimony to conform to the expectations of others? I’m not talking about lawlessness or rebellion, I’m talking about the most devout form of obedience that comes from identity. People who have not gained identity in the hillside of devotion will easily put on anything that’s offered to them to make them feel like they belong. The problem with that is you become apart of the army that is standing in formation like you are going to battle, but the reality is you’ve exchanged intimacy for conformity. You have to remember, there was an army standing in opposition to the Philistines, dressed in battle array, yet no one was willing to enact the covenant that was available for them all. Except for one man who didn’t want to battle but he wanted to release a nation from the bonds of fear. David wasn’t clothed in armor for battle, he was clothed in the armor of beloved identity. It wasn’t his military exploit, it was his passion for the Lord’s goodness that would provoke him to volunteer to remove the false power called Goliath. The Philistine may have had physical validation, but he was no match for one who was clothed in righteousness. This wasn’t a battle, it was a demonstration. This demonstration was to set liberty to those who were being oppressed.
You don’t step into your full identity until you are willing to say no to the compromise of the system and stand in your identity in devotion. The standard is no different today. Far too many people are trying to do the work of the kingdom without yielding to the identity that comes in the wilderness. Most people want to do something great for the Lord without thought of what they will have to exchange. The only thing that you’ll have to exchange in the kingdom is your humanity for his divinity. His exchange with you comes in the silence when no one is watching, not in the moment that someone may compete for glory. David’s greatest strength in this narrative is that he knew what fit and what didn’t fit. Sometimes it’s not what you do, but why you do it that will determine you walking in the fullness of covenant promises. Everything that Yahweh has set for you to inherit will demand that you make the exchange of Saul’s armor for the intimacy of devotion that was tested in the wilderness. The truth is, that Goliath wasn’t the real battle, it was the lion and the bear when David could have easily walked away and let them have the sheep to spare his own life. But something supernatural happens when you are willing to put yourself in harms way when you know you are responding in identity that’s been anointed to inherit much more than what you are able to see at the moment. The faithfulness of integrity will cause you to defeat what was meant to take you out.
In February 2015, I came to the realization that my beloved identity had been covered by the compromise of religious duty. This was my Saul’s armor. This was what was put on me by the system and what was slowly hardening my heart from my first love. It wasn’t my intention, but it was my compromise. It was not a compromise of gross sin, it was much more deceiving, it was choice to settle instead of the choice to be who I knew I had a covenant to be. I exchanged the wild for becoming domesticated. I began to take on duty as my armor and my passion was my excellence. Although I wanted to do the work of the Kingdom, I found that I was dressed for something that didn’t fit me. On that night it took a father to identify that on me and call me back to my real identity. It was calling me back to the first love and the first works of my encounters with Jesus. Since that weekend two years ago, it’s been romance and adventure that is making my heart come alive to who He has made me to be.
You may be reading this right now and feel like you are in a situation that doesn’t “fit” or that you don’t belong. It’s not always the case, but it may be that somewhere along the way you picked up and put on something that’s not really you. You exchanged the devotion for duty and you stopped living in childlike wonder. Yahweh didn’t make you to exist, He made you be fully alive. If you find yourself yoked with burden, but not delight, make the exchange. Take off Saul’s armor and discover the limitless goodness of a beloved identity. You can’t fail, if you are found IN HIM. David didn’t miss Goliath because he was an incredible marksman, but because He was completely hidden IN the identity that the Lord gave him. You don’t have to settle, you can live a life that is from glory to glory. Fulfilling that promise will demand you stay clothed in righteousness and not burdened by the armor of others expectations. The truly surrendered heart is the heart that is free to be everything Yahweh says you are.