I just finished reading Louie Giglio’s Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants, and I thought I might share a few personal insights from my reading. I am also dubbing this blog as the very first Book Bite! Since I write about books often but not always, Book Bites are a new way for me to distinguish posts about books from other topics.
I heard Louie Giglio preach at The Highlands Church student Motion conference last summer, and it had probably been ten years since I last heard him preach in person. I was so privileged to be present at the very first Passion world tour conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was such a special moment in my life. Last summer, though, I was a bit surprised to hear what Louie had to say. I also was incredibly blessed by his vulnerable words of wisdom. He talked about his own personal struggle with anxiety and depression and the battles of walking that path as a Christian. I was blessed by what he had to say and encouraged to continue seeking answers and truth from God for my own situation, even when everyone surrounding me always seems to have much to say on the topic of anxiety and faith. When I saw his latest book on the shelf not long after that conference, I was quick to purchase it. Even though it sat on my own shelf for nearly a year, I finally got around to reading it this last week, and again, I was blessed by what he had to say.
I won’t give a review of the book here, but I will say that it is worth reading for yourself. The Biblical framework of the story of David and Goliath provides a fresh perspective on how we view “giants” in our own lives. Much of what he writes is just a good solid review of concepts that we probably all need to be reminded of. I was reminded of part of my own journey in reading these words:
“Probably the greatest lie of all when we’re facing our addictions is that we can wage the battle on our own. Because our sin, shame, inadequacy, and fear have us in a cover-up, we want to work ourselves free in the privacy of our own lives. We’re afraid of being known, of being honest, of being vulnerable. But the ABLE comes with being honest with God and with those around us.” (187)
These words are so true, and I believe that we face this same lie not only in regard to our addictions but to any sin in general. For some reason, the church is often not a place that people feel the freedom and comfort to confess sin, and it boggles my mind. The church should be the very place that we can turn to confess sin because of the simple fact that we need each other to continue walking. We need the people around us to be a shoulder to lean on when we are struggling or when we have fallen. I am so blessed that God worked this truth into me many years ago because without the people surrounding me, I am not sure how I would have walked through some of my struggles.
David describes the effects of sin that we hold within us when he writes “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” I was convicted by this verse about the importance of confessing my sin and not thinking that I could keep it to myself and still be able to deal with it. The idea of my bones literally wasting away because of unconfessed sin is not something I really want to experience. In fact, when I do experience it, I am miserable. There is freedom in confession, but yet for some of us, confession remains one of the most difficult things to do. I imagine that many of us are driven by fear. Fear of what our friends will think of us, fear of what the church or our leaders might think of us, and fear of what people might say or do to us because of our sin. Thankfully, scripture is very clear about how God views our sin, and wishes us to handle sin, and how He deals with our sin.
James encourages us to “confess [our] sins to one another and pray for one another, that [we] may be healed,” because “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). The reality is that we should not be fearful of confessing our sins to each other, but rather we should be ready, willing, and prepared to receive confession from others with a loving and prayerful spirit. David dealt with the weight of sin crushing his bones by declaring:
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover up my iniquity;
I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
God is a forgiving god. How often do we have to remind ourselves of this? How often do we forget the reason that Jesus died on the cross in the first place…because God KNEW that we were sinful? He already knows. Still, we fear our sin being known. God began to teach me about the freedom of confession early in my walk with Him, and I believe that the little seed of wisdom He planted early on saved me from years of defeating and wicked heartache.
Several years back, I walked through a short season of disgusting sin. I am so grateful that this season was indeed very short, yet it still altered the course of my life. Even to this day, I feel the effects of that sin on my life in terms of where I am and what I am doing. For quite a long time, I said that season ruined my life, but I believe I have now come to see that I could not actually ruin my life but simply alter it. God is still graciously working in my life, and I am very aware of that. The night that my eyes were opened to my sin, I knew instantly that what I needed to do was confess. In fact, I did not even hesitate with the thought of whether or not to confess my sin, and I know this to be true because I still vividly remember the bridge I was driving across the moment I spoke into the phone, “You might want to sit down for this.” That bridge was exactly halfway between where I lived and where I was the moment my eyes were opened to my sin. Just enough time for me to decide who to call, make the call, and say that I had something very serious to tell them. Today, I am very grateful for two things that happened that night.
1) God began the work in me years prior that I would need that night.
God began pressing into my heart David’s words in Psalm 32 years before that night. Whether or not to confess my sin wasn’t even really a battle for me. I had been blinded to my sin for that season, and I believe that to be the work of Satan. The moment I was aware of it, though, I knew confession was my only answer. As much as I have liked to believe that my sin ruined my life, I knew that night that if I did not confess, my life would in fact waste away. I made the call that night, and I had the most difficult discussions of my life for the next two days. I confessed, and it actually saved my life.
2) I have the right and best people surrounding me.
Probably more than anything else, I am grateful for the people that God has allowed me to do life with. I had a handful of women that I knew I could call that night. I made the call to the one I felt most appropriate for the situation, and I called upon the others in the days and weeks to come. I feel that all of them share a responsibility in where I am today because of their faithfulness to God, His word, and me, as a sister in Christ. I know today that I would not have been able to walk through that season of my life as well as I did without their help. In many ways, I think the shame that I felt was carried on their shoulders so that I never had to carry it myself. They carried the burden with me and were faithful to love me back to Jesus, through all of the hurt and pain and tears that followed that season of sin.
Believer, what a lie it is that we cannot be honest, truthful, and transparent about our sin. The only way that we will ever experience freedom is through confession. God is so faithful; He has already forgiven you for every sinful act in your future. Do not ever be tempted to run from Him, but with everything you have run to Him. Lean on the people that surround you. If you do not have these people in your life, pray for them. I believe the church has much work to do in helping to foster a safe environment for confession and building up believers to be safe environments for confession. I am currently at work on a book that touches on this very issue and account in my own life. Louie Giglio’s words give me hope, reminding me of this truth and the fact that there are believers out there with this correct view of sin.
To the women that surround me and uphold me in life: Thank you for your love and faithfulness.