"Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear." (Philippians 1:12-14)As the Roman government sought to stamp out Christianity, the more they persecuted it, the more it grew. Thinking to cause a deterrent to others, their imprisonment of Paul actually made other believers more confident and bolder in their defense and proclamation of the Gospel. This reminds me of another story from the scriptures. "Now it came about after this, that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued. And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot; and he also was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants." (1 Chronicles 20:4-8)
There was a time when all of Israel shuttered at the sight of the giants of Philistine. None dared approach them, let alone challenge them in battle. However, all of a sudden, it is like it is open season on giants. Everyone and their brother is running around slaying giants, the same giants they used to tremble in fear before. So what changed? David! One man dared to face a giant in the name of the Lord and his bravery and success paved the way for others to take courage and do the same. David killed a giant and everyone else said, "Maybe I can do that too!"
Here is the moral of our story, the way we live our lives affect more than ourselves. Our lives can have a profound effect on those around us. Our lives can either lead others to fear and doubt or they can lead others to courage and action. The example we set can either close the door to others or open wide the door that others may walk through. We must always remember that people are watching us; they are watching to see if what we confess is really true. We say we can "do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13) but does our life bear out the truth of what we confess? When we take up faith and do what we can only do in Christ, then others are encouraged to do the same. When we venture out with courage and do what seems impossible, then the impossible becomes the possible to others. Let us be people who open doors for others. Let us be those who declare a new season of giant slaying. Let us be people who cause others to take up courage and faith and live the life the were meant to live.