Read 1 Samuel 17:38-40
38 Then Saul gave David his own armour—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail.39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.
“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. (NLT)
None of us follows Jesus in a vacuum. We are part of a great company of people who share the journey. Some help us, some may even hinder us. We get some encouraging perspectives from some and shy away from others who seem to sidetrack us.
In the end, we make our own unique, individual journey of faith. Others play a vital part, but none of us can live on borrowed faith. We can’t get by on the faith of our parents or friends. We can’t simply put someone else’s book into practice, or slavishly imitate another person’s pattern of life and service.
David couldn’t use Saul’s armour to defeat Goliath. He had to use tools which were suitable for him. He had to reject powerful advice and the usual way of doing things. He had to be himself, not the extension of the ego or passions of another person. A suit of armour might have been fine for someone else, but stones and a slingshot were fine for him.
While we benefit from the advice and example of others, we are called to follow Jesus in our own distinctive way. God equips us to do what he wants us to do rather than insisting we equip ourselves to do what others might be doing. We serve Jesus in ways that others might not. Our faith journeys may have a common end but the ways to that end are uniquely tailored to the unique faith traveller.