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Both armies stared in shock.

In a matter of seconds, everything had changed. They had gaped in disbelief as David, undaunted by Goliath’s threats, suddenly broke into a run — straight toward the Philistine. They had watched as his hand disappeared for a moment into the pouch he carried…then it reappeared, thrust a small stone into a sling, and began to twirl the sling at blinding speed. Before their minds could catch up with what was happening, they saw the giant stop, stagger and slump. Now he lay motionless on the ground.

It would have been natural for David to yield to emotion and stop to do a victory dance. No doubt he fought the urge to run back to Saul, to accept the king’s congratulations. But his instincts told him this wasn’t over yet — not by a long shot.

Instead of running off the battlefield, he walked toward his prostrate enemy. David had no sword — no, fighting the Philistine champion had not been on his mind when he left home that morning, and he refused to fight in armor in which he had never drilled, so he rejected Saul’s offer to loan him his royal armor. Kneeling by the fallen enemy, he pulled Goliath’s sword from its scabbard. His other hand grasped the giant’s hair. Fighting the revulsion that welled up within him at the task at hand, he began the grisly job of severing the giant’s head.

Only when Goliath’s head fell free did David allow himself to turn his back to his enemy. Only then, bearing the severed head in his hand, did David make his way to Saul. As a good soldier, he knew he could only celebrate when his enemy was defeated beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Sadly, many believers have yet to learn David’s lesson. In their struggle against sin, they jump up to celebrate after having shed a couple of tears, rejoicing at the apparent fall of their enemy. A stone to the forehead, however, is not enough to kill a champion — and a few seconds on one’s knees is not enough to vanquish sin. It takes something far deeper…something often not at all pleasant. If you are to conquer sin, you simply can’t quit while the enemy’s head is still on his shoulders.

I once read an article about eliminating rat infestations. The author made the observation that cats and dogs will never totally eradicate rats; the only way to get rid of rats is to clean the area around your house and make sure there is nothing for rats to feed on. Only when they have no food will the rats move away.

This is why the apostle urged us to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1). He also told us to fill our minds with things that are wholesome and good (Philippians 4:8) — a reminder that we must be careful about what we allow to enter through our eyes and ears, lest we create a welcoming atmosphere for the rats of sin.

When my grandmother was facing the reality that she was losing her battle with cancer, she signed a directive instructing her medical team to take “no heroic measures.” That meant that, when her body began to shut down, they were to let death follow its course, with no efforts to prolong her life artificially. I was just a teenager at the time, but that memory has stayed with me.

When it comes to dying to sin, it’s imperative we take enough time in an altar of repentance to sign a spiritual “no heroic measures” directive. We must ensure we don’t hook our sinful nature up to spiritual life support. Cut off Goliath’s head. Clean up your house so the rats have no food. And don’t let anyone — friends, family, coworkers, neighbors…anyone…try to breath life back into your old sinful self.

Only when you are crucified to the point where you no longer live, but Christ lives in you…only then can you truly say that “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).


Kelly Nix
University Chaplain