Jerusha: Lori Stanley Roeleveld joins us today with an excerpt from her non-fiction book, Jesus and the Beanstalk: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life. Lori is giving away a free copy of her book to one reader who comments below. So be sure to join the conversation!
By Lori Stanley Roeleveld
In my forties, I studied karate. I was new at it, but I’m competitive. I entered my first tournament as a lowly orange belt. I won first place in two divisions: kata (a series of choreographed moves) and weapons.
With only the sparring division left, I felt confident. Sparring occurs when two opponents don protective gear and score points by throwing kicks and punches at each other, making contact without intent to injure. It was in that division I encountered a giant.
I entered the ring for my bout and turned to talk with other students as I waited for my opponent. When the warning bell rang and I whirled to face her, I was looking square into her belly button.
I stood opposite an unnaturally tall, refrigerator-shaped, twenty-five-year-old farmwoman, looking as if she’d trained by hauling small tractors at the county fair.
At that precise moment, I lost the bout. I don’t recall much about the actual match except I never moved. I could hear my karate teacher shout, “Do something! Anything! Aw!” It was over with breathtaking speed.
Technically my opponent won, but really, I defeated myself the second I contemplated her navel.
Flash forward two years. I faced another giant in a similar karate tournament. I had two more years of training, but I was still outmatched. Again, I opposed a woman who was more skilled, younger, and in better shape. She exuded confidence. But one weapon I’d learned to engage was my mind.
It was clear this girl believed I was no match for her. I might not have been if she’d been prepared for me to come at her like a middle-aged female spinoff of Jackie Chan.
I caught her completely off guard by displaying no fear and blitzing her the moment the bell rang. Without hesitation I attacked. I scored two points, and she was so rattled, I managed to sneak in a third to win the match within seconds.
There I stood, still the lesser fighter, but now the victor. What changed between my first match and my second is this time I had refused to defeat myself.
I might be out-skilled. I might fight out of my league. I might still go down, but I will no longer do the work for my opponents.
We Christians do that though, don’t we? In a land of giants, too often we spend so much time contemplating our opponents and weighing the odds, we defeat ourselves. Let me save you some time.
The odds are always in favor of the giant—always—but odds don’t win battles. Ask David.
God’s Word says there are giant forces of evil at work in this age. In Matthew 13, Jesus gave us the parable of the sower and told us the evil one will carry off some of the seed planted in peoples’ hearts. In the following parable, he describes an enemy who plants weeds among the good seed in a farmer’s field under cover of dark.
These stories speak to a relentless, invasive enemy at work in our midst. Battling such pervasive evil will require diligent persistence on our part.
There’s nothing easy involved in what we’re about these days. We face aggressive, abominable giants. We will surely be defeated if we do their work for them!
Excerpted with permission from Jesus and the Beanstalk: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life by Lori Stanley Roeleveld (Abingdon Press).
What giants do you face in your life? Have you defeated them by remembering our God is stronger? Please share!
Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She authors an unsettling blog and has written two unconventional non-fiction books and one perturbing novella. Her debut non-fiction, Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus) is FREE today only on Amazon Kindle.
Her latest book, Jesus and the Beanstalk: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life just released from Abingdon Press.
Look her up at www.loriroeleveld.com. Part-time giant-slayer. Not available for children’s parties.
For a chance to win a print or digital copy of Jesus and the Beanstalk leave a comment below! (Print version for continental U.S. residents only.)
What if a fairy tale and ten Bible verses could free you to live an effective, fruitful life in Christ?
We live in a world populated with giants. Giant obstacles to sharing faith. Giant barriers to godly lives. Giant strongholds of sin. We come from a long line of giant-killers so, why aren’t we dodging more fallen giants? Jack and the Beanstalk could hold part of the key.
Jesus and the Beanstalk explores 2 Peter 1:1-10 using fairy tale, humor, and modern culture to show today’s believers how to unleash that promise of an effective, fruitful life. Designed for both individuals, discipleship, small groups, or ministry retreats, readers will find this fresh take on spiritual growth engaging and motivating.
Are you ready to topple the giants in your life?