Most people are aware of the story of David and Goliath – even if they haven’t read the Bible. David, scarcely more than a boy, killed a menacing giant named Goliath who was “armed to the teeth.” The amazing thing is that David took this man down with only a stone and a slingshot. We love this story because the underdog won and he was so brave! Many times we face “giants” in our own lives, or problems so big and numerous that we feel we’re facing an army. Long before this confrontation happens, it’s important that we set our hearts to learn how to build courage because we CAN learn to be relentlessly brave. Training is what we need as trouble will come, again and again. Right?
To Build Courage, We Must Prepare
How did David learn to be courageous and fearless? He trained for a long time “off stage.” In other words, long before he had to face the fiercest, most public battles of his life, David was preparing and being prepared. He got ready on multiple levels of his being – physically, mentally, and spiritually. David did not encounter trouble and then try to scramble to face it. He came to it ready. And so must we!
How did David train? He was a shepherd, tending his father’s sheep in Bethlehem. He was the youngest of eight sons of a man named Jesse. David’s three oldest brothers went off to war with King Saul. (1 Samuel 17:13) David stayed behind minding the sheep and running errands between his brothers and the pasture. He also had been called upon to play music to soothe King Saul when the king was disturbed.
These were humble tasks, not those of the limelight, but that’s where we learn! David had time to worship and dwell on God in those fields. He grew spiritually. When wild animals attacked his sheep, he fought back which gave him physical strength. And, he grew in thanksgiving and the ability to credit God in all things, even for his own developing strength. He said, “The LORD rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear…” (1 Samuel 17:37)
Additionally, David gained the knowledge of how to shepherd a flock. He grew mentally.
Courage Grows When We Remember Past Victories
It was remembering the defeating of lions and bears with the help of God that built David’s courage. When he went to bring supplies to his brothers at Saul’s camp and saw the huge and menacing Goliath, he carried with him the knowledge that he already knew how to fight! He had been training! Listen to his wonderful speech as he volunteered to fight Goliath. (Saul’s army was terrified and unwilling to confront the giant.)
But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. As it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said, “Go, and the LORD be with you.” (1 Samuel 17:34-37)
God Shows Us How to Build Courage
King Saul attempted to dress David in his tunic and armor and put a bronze helmet on his head as battle preparation. And David put Saul’s sword on over the tunic. But none of this felt normal to him. Besides, he wanted to see and demonstrate God’s power in the situation.
David said, “I cannot go in these because I am not used to them.” (1 Samuel 17:39) So, David took all the armor 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 sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:39-40)
God had said a similar thing to Gideon, a judge, at an earlier time, “Go in the strength that you have and save Israel…Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)
These are the beliefs, like David’s, that we have to get rooted down so deep in our hearts. This is how we build courage:
God is with us.
Our God is stronger than any enemy that can come against us.
He is fighting our battles.
We can overcome in God’s strength but we must also train.
It is important to be ourselves and let God work with that.
And the rest of the story, of course, is that young David stepped up before the glowering Goliath who was full of taunts and insults. David put a stone in his sling and threw it. Striking Goliath right in the forehead, the giant fell to the ground.
“So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.” (1 Samuel 17:50)
Remember Jesus’ Words About Being Courageous
Jesus said many things to help us build our courage. We must have it in order to navigate this life where there is an abundance of trouble, spiritual warfare, and opposition. As you can see by the quotes above, courage isn’t the absence of fear. It is moving forward even with it. And sometimes, in moral battles, we may have to stand alone. But Jesus reassured us in ways that aid our faith to stay strong. He said:
“So don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows. (Mathew 10:31)
“I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough.” (Matthew 6:25)
“Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:27)
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
All of these words and so many more reassure us that God is with us, helping us, and providing for us. The chief thing to remember as you think about how to build courage is that God gives us His presence and His Word to do this.
You May Be Facing Your Own Giants
You may be facing your own giants right now. I hope that you have had time to train physically, mentally, and spiritually. But, no matter what, turn to God now and say the simplest and best of prayers, “Help me.” He has promised He will. And remember, He can take down a giant through you, through us, with even, just a stone.
If you need prayer or encouragement to fight some battle, please contact me through this website. God be with you so abundantly.
The Hard Times Make You Stronger
A Book on Losing Fear:
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It is so encouraging when I face something scary to remember that God is with me. When I remind myself that He is fighting my battles for me it makes it easier to be brave. Thanks for this reminder!
Collene, yes, I love the stories of the Bible that say, “The Lord has gone before you,” or “He is fighting the battle.” Such a reassurance.
Wow! What encouragement! I think we all can relate because this is a “giant” season. Thank you for these reminders!
Teri, you are so right. It is a giant season. Well said! Thanks, Teri.
Pam, great post on overcoming fear and living with courage. Giants definitely will come but our trust in God can always help us face them.
Thank you, Mary. It is such a blessing to feel strong and constantly held in God’s care.
“We can overcome in God’s strength but we must also train.” I love that you added (to train) into this post. It is so important to prepare as much as we can (to do our part) to help us walk in the call placed upon our lives. Inspiring post.
I know, Rose. We must train! And the only thing that will prompt us to do it before we get hit with something is to constantly remember we are in a battle. Thank you!
This was such an encouraging read. I love how you said God is always with us and He shows us how to have courage.
Thank you, Sacha. How we need His courage and He is so good to supply it!
Great reminders from David & Goliath! I loved this quote on your headlines, “Courage Grows When We Remember Past Victories.” This was a wonderful headline! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Shannon. When we stop and think about it, we can find so many past events and say, “If not for God I would never have made it!”
Through the years, I have learned that God will fight my battles for me. Each time I remember the ways God has battled for me, it gives me more courage. Thanks for sharing the encouragement.
Yvonne, thank you so much. I agree with you! When I remember all that God has done, it helps me to get up and be brave in His strength again.
The story of David and Goliath never grows old as a powerful example of what it means to become courageous. The insight that David built his courage with humble tasks was so encouraging to me!
Thank you, Carla. I always get encouraged myself by being reminded that God gives us seasons of preparation – we’re not being held back or being forgotten, but instead, being made ready. Thanks for stopping by.
I learnt from this post that spiritual growth is a key to courage and Fearlessness. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. Yes, as we grow closer to God our courage rises up!
God used David here so splendidly. I’m glad God will train us for what He will also take us through.
I agree Sandra. We need training. But God is faithful to provide it. Thanks for stopping by!
We build our courage muscle by being faithful during difficult circumstances and experiencing God’s faithfulness. He is so good to us when we have the courage to step out in faith and obey. Thanks for this great reminder from God’s word today.
Christine, thank you so much. I loved that you called it the “courage muscle!”
Loved the example of David’s life as a shepherd preparing him, building his courage, to the point he was able to face the even tougher battle against Goliath. It’s encouraging to know that God uses hard things in our lives to strengthen us for what He knows is ahead. Great post! Blessings! ?
Thank you, Teresa. Yes, God’s goal is to help us become strong and astute. It is good to find that out and that we can, with Him, withstand the “training” experiences.
This is encouraging to me as I face “giants” in motherhood. Sounds strange, but I’m always tempted to shrink back from difficulties that arise while raising two pre-teens. Lord, help me to have courage!
Summer, I remember entering that pre-teen and teenage time feeling wholly unprepared. It does take courage and a constant searching for wisdom. God bless you as you navigate this new season of your life.
I love the reminder “These were humble tasks, not those of the limelight, but that’s where we learn!” So good to remember that the menial tasks of today are preparing us for the battle tomorrow. Thank you!
Yes! If we think that way, “All things work together for good for those that love the Lord,” we don’t object to serving humbly, nor do we see it as humble – we simply see it as loving and giving and ministering to our Lord first and foremost – and it all feels good and right. We’re surprised by any promotions that come and we not only deeply appreciate them and remain humble – but we’re ready!
It is comforting to see how God prepared David by allowing the challenges that led up to facing Goliath. Such a great example for trusting God in every battle big and small, knowing that God isn’t wasting any of it!
I love that, Rachel: “God isn’t wasting any of it!”
Thank you for reminding me that it is always a process. Always. From the field to the limelight is too much for us mortals to handle. God teaches us so many valuable lessons and qualities along the way to equip us.
Thank you, Evangeline. Yes, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8 One of my favorite verses!
Great message about courage! I love how you say he was training before the fight! I always learn something new.
Heather, thank you so much for stopping by. Our wonderful God is constantly seeking to strengthen us, isn’t He?
I love the story of David and have so much to learn from this man. I love how you said he couldn’t wear Saul’s armor because none of it felt normal and besides, he wanted to see and demonstrate God’s power in the situation. I love that the courage he possessed was courage in his God. I have to remember that and because I melt when I think I have to find the courage within myself. Thank you so much for this beautiful post.
Donna, thank you so much. So appreciate your reading and your great comments!
I love what you say about being trained and equipped for situations that will require bravery. I’ve felt like I am in training seasons before and then discover that I can handle life more because of them.
It’s good to remember God was there then and he’s with me in my new trial.
I am so glad this “rang true” with you, Chavon. I know I have felt “set aside” at times, only to find out it was God’s grace and protection and yes, I was being made ready for something!