David, the shepherd boy, teaches us much about the battles that we may face as modern adults (1 Samuel 17:1-58). I could spend a lot of ink rehashing the important truths of how a boy with faith in God can defeat a giant carrying big weapons. But that has been written about many times before. Instead, I’d like to reflect on an often unanalyzed portion of the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:38-40). In this portion of the story, King Saul has relented to David’s zeal and given him permission to fight Goliath. The King gives David his own armor. It’s intended to protect David from the very real dangers he’s about to face. But when David dons the armor, he tries multiple times to move in it, but finds that he cannot. He was not trained in its use, and it wasn’t made for his body. He chooses to remove the armor and approach the war seasoned Goliath, exposed, and armed with nothing but his faith and a deadly shepherd’s sling. Later when Goliath maneuvers to attack, David moves quickly to the battle line and defeats him (1 Samuel 17:48-49).
David could not have moved quickly to that battle line, and then nimbly reached into his bag to retrieve his sling had he been weighed down with armor that was never intended for his use. And God would not have been glorified in the same way had David defeated Goliath with might, and strength, and weapons forged by men for war.
In modern contexts, we often try to defeat our Goliaths wearing armor that was never intended to be used by the children of God. Some people call it baggage. Perhaps you were hurt as a child, or perhaps you failed at something important to you, and now you carry that baggage around with you everywhere you go. We’ve come to call it baggage because we carry it around. But it’s really armor and not baggage. We’re not carrying it around because we need something to wear to a restaurant in a distant city. We carry it around to keep us from getting hurt again.
Before we can truly fight our real battles we need to acknowledge the baggage for what it is in the same way that David did — as a hindrance and not as an effective protection. And just like armor, we need to have our fellow soldiers help us remove it, so that we can don our true armor (Ephesians 6:13-18) and slay our true enemy in the truest battles we face.