When you think of the word “defense” what comes to mind? Perhaps you’re a sports fan and you think of your favorite football team … or perhaps you’re working at a government agency that deals with defending the rights of others. Maybe you’re in an abusive relationship that you’ve been trying to get out of for quite some time and, to you, defending yourself has become a way of life. Whatever the case, there will always – somehow – be a need for defense. With both good and evil in the world, someone, somewhere will always need to be defended against the “bad guys.” Fortunately, for someone who is a Christian, we don’t have to go it alone. We can fully rely on Jesus to be our Defense. Psalm 118:14 (NIV) says, “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” Also, Romans 8:31-34 (NIV) tells us, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” So, here we can see that we only need to look to Jesus to help us and defend us in our time of need – in whatever it is we may be going through. Practically speaking, maybe you were talking to someone in your household and you were (innocently) making a request for them to help you with housework. All of a sudden – seemingly out of nowhere – they get all bent out of shape and get irritated at you. Wanting to “defend” yourself against their anger, you start to explain why you need the help. However, you quickly realize they aren’t open to listening to your explanation. Instead of continuing to try to defend yourself, you leave the area and go to a private place to pray. You lift up the situation to the Lord. You ask Him to defend you against the other person taking your request the wrong way. You know in your heart, your attitude was not one of trying to control them, but, rather, was simply a humble request for help. You also remember that (according to Ephesians 6:12 (NIV), “… our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”) Because of that, you are aware that it is actually a spiritual battle and it must be fought with spiritual weapons. These “weapons” are listed in Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV) as we read, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Therefore, when you are in the midst of the battle, you can be praying and asking the Lord to help you and defend you, but you also must be “in agreement” with Him (meaning that you also need to be exercising faith that He will defend you… you also need to be holding up the “shield” of faith so that the other person’s implied accusation doesn’t penetrate your heart, but, rather, is deflected off (since you know that it’s not really the other person you have an issue with, instead, it’s really the “spiritual forces of evil” that are trying to pit you and the other person against each other.) When you let your own “defensiveness” go and give it to the Lord and allow Him to defend you and you remember His faithfulness in the past as well as a way to exercise your faith now, you can expect Him to work it all out for you – on your behalf – as you do your part in trusting and believing in Him and His power to come to your defense. So, the timeless truth for today is to allow the Lord to come to your defense – no matter what you may be facing. All you need to do is take your situation, your issue with someone else, or whatever it may be to Him and trust and believe He will come to your defense!
Have you ever been asked to do a job no one else wanted to do? Did you feel like you were stuck because the person asking you was your boss and you knew you couldn’t just say no … so you grudgingly, painstakingly, slowly performed the job all the while grumbling under your breath … and then you didn’t even get so much as a thank you? Well, if that has happened to you, you’re not alone. Work, of any kind, is just that – work. Perhaps what is needed is a change in perspective. Colossians 3:23, 24 (NIV) says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” So, this timeless truth gives us insight into the type of perspective that can help change our whole outlook on work … of any kind. When we come to realize that we are actually working for the Lord (not men) we can do that work “as unto Him” … as if we were doing it directly for Him … as if He were our boss. And since we know that God is for us and not against us, anything He (as our boss, so to speak) asks us to do is for some good purpose … even if we don’t know what that purpose is at the time … or ever. We can trust that God is working it all out for good since Romans 8:28 (NIV) tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him …” So, even if we are cleaning toilets, we can choose to have the perspective that we are actually working for the Lord and we can find a purpose in our work … perhaps we are keeping the toilet sanitized so that when the next person who comes in to use it (who may have a compromised immune system) doesn’t have a bad reaction to the germs that otherwise would’ve been on the seat … if you really want to use your imagination, perhaps those germs would’ve caused a nasty rash that got infected and caused further problems for the person … including having to go to the hospital to be treated and having to be subjected to even more germs … which could’ve made even more problems develop … BUT … BECAUSE you chose to work “as unto the Lord” and BECAUSE you chose to do a good job cleaning that toilet seat, NONE of those things happened! The person with the compromised immune system NEVER had any problems whatsoever … and all because you did your job with the right perspective! So, the next time your boss asks you to do a job no one else wants to do, remember to take it in stride and have the attitude of Christ who did not think it was beneath him to wash his disciples feet but, instead, did so with love.