This piece was originally presented by Inet Ekanem at the 2017 Youth Week of the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, 5 Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo – Akwa Ibom State, on 16/09/2017, under the topic: How to be Valiant Youths.
“Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.”
Psalm 60:12 (KJV)
Being valiant has to do with being courageous, being undaunted and steadfast; especially in the face of challenges. As a Christian, it connotes your ability to do exploit for Kingdom purpose. But there are certain steps you need to take and lifestyles you need to adhere to, if you wish to act valiantly. As The Message translation of the Bible puts our opening passage, it is only “In God [that] we’ll do our very best…”. “With God’s help we will do mighty things…” says the New Living Translation. So, from the foregoing, it’s already laid out for you what the first thing you need is, if you are to be valiant:
- You Need God
From the words of the hymn “I need Thee every hour”, you can glean that you need God every single moment of your life if you wish to be valiant.
Rick Warren says in The Purpose Driven Life that “It all starts with God” (Colossians 1:16). And if it starts with God, then it must revolve around Him and end with Him, because He is the Alpha and Omega – beginning and the end.
We often get it wrong by converging our thoughts and intellect on ourselves and trying to ask ourselves self-centered questions like: What should I do with my life? What are my goals, ambitions, dreams for the future? etc. We try to size our areas of strength and weaknesses (though not a bad idea in itself), and based on our assessment, we place certain limitations on ourselves and forget that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). When we focus on ourselves, we limit ourselves from being used for valiance by God. You need Him – you need to surrender all to Him.
- Live by God’s Word
If you want to have your electronic device working at full capacity, you need to refer to the manufacturer’s manual from time to time, after going through it for the initial set-up. If you wish to know how to activate a new level or bonus on a computer game you’re playing, you may need to refer to the “Help” section of the game. In like manner, the Bible is our “Manufacturer’s Manual” containing all the help we need to live by. Just like we need physical food for our bodily development, we should not neglect God’s nourishing Word and Sacrament for our optimal spiritual development. To do valiantly, you need God’s Word to guide you.
- Think right
By now you must be familiar with the phrase from Proverbs 23:7 – whatever thought occupies your heart is a description of who you are. But, to be valiant, you need to think right, and that, you can do if you:
- Have foresight (Proverbs 21:5). You don’t just wait around for success or stumble into it, you must plan. In whatever you’re doing, your level of success will surge vividly if you can think right. In his book, As a Man Thinketh, James Allen says, “All that a man achieves or fails to achieve, is a direct result of his thoughts”; and Novelist Victor Hugo wrote, “A small man is made up of small thoughts”.
- Always look for the best, not the worst. You can choose to live by the principles found in Philippians 4:8. Be optimistic, and everyone will see the result of your positive thinking; don’t be a pessimist.
- Do not limit yourself
Most times we place certain limitations upon ourselves because of how we feel or because of the environment we find ourselves. Inferiority complex sometimes gets the better of us. But I want you to carefully examine these three (3) points below:
- Recognize that you’re not an accident (Isaiah 44:2)
- How you are (the features of your body) was carefully planned by God (Psalm 139:15)
- Where you come from (your environment) is not accidental (Acts 17:26)
- Determine what pushes you
Everyone’s life is driven by something (a problem, pressure, a painful memory, fear, etc).
In Genesis 4:11-16, we see that Cain was driven by guilt – his guilt disconnected him from God’s presence. If you had been driven by guilt, you can thank God for the assurance of Psalm 32:1. Those driven by resentment and anger need to learn a lesson from Job 5:2; and 1John 4:18 teaches that love can replace fear, so fear doesn’t have to push you around.
The ultimate push you need in life can only come from God.
What else do you think can push you?
Is it materialism? Let your push not come from the urge to acquire wealth – you need to realize that “your value is not determined by your valuables”.
The ultimate push you need in life can only come from God. Let Him be the driving force of your life and you will enjoy the benefits recorded in Jeremiah 29:11 and Ephesians 3:20.
- See life from God’s view
The way you see your life shapes your life. It determines how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships.
Some people see life as a party (having fun is the target).
Others see life as a race (you value speed and probably in a hurry much of the time)
If you see life as a marathon, you will value endurance, and if you see life as a game (winning becomes your main aim).
But the bible says “Do not conform…” (Romans 12:2). It offers 3 metaphors that teach us God’s view of life that will help us become valiant:
- Life is a test. Youths like Joseph, Ruth, Esther, Daniel passed their tests. Character is developed and revealed by tests. God tests faith through problems, tests hope through possessions, tests your love through people. For example, Hezekiah got tested by God in Chronicles 32:31. 1Corinthians 10:13 assures us of God’s grace and strength to endure tests.
- Life is a trust. God’s specially wrapped gift to us (Genesis 1:28). We must be trustworthy(1Corinthians 4:2)
- Life is a temporary assignment. Our time on earth is limited and fleeting; when we realize this, we will live valiantly, knowing time is not on our side – Psalm 39:4; Job 8:9; Psalm 119:19; 1Peter 1:17
- Finally, let God use you
The Bible is filled with examples of young people who allowed God to use them valiantly despite their excuses and shortcomings: Gideon (Judges 6:15), Samson (Judges 16:17, 28), David (1Samuel 17:45-47), etc. They said “yes” to His will and trusted His decision and relied on his guidance. You need to take such a decision – to give God unreserved authority over you.
The Bible in Basic English says of our passage: “Through God we will do great things, for through him our haters will be crushed under our feet.” (Psalm 60:12 – BBE).
Let Him use you!