Do you want to trust in someone but fear being put to shame? Do you avoid putting yourself out there for all to see because you’re worried you’ll be embarrassed? Do you dread others finding out your secret hopes and dreams since you’re afraid of what they’ll think if none of them come to pass? If so, you’re not alone. Probably everyone in this world has undergone these same feelings; these same emotions. When we feel like we need to step out and take a risk, worry and anxiety are right there beside us trying to stop us from moving forward. They are right there to tell us all kinds of lies that would stop us and cause us to doubt what we really should be doing … if we listen. Problem is, those voices in our head tend to be a lot louder than the whispers of assurance we would hear if only we would choose to listen to them instead. Consider this “whisper” found in Psalm 22:4-5 (NIV) : “In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame.” The truth is, God is faithful. God is loving and kind. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When we look at how God interacted with the people in the Bible, with the people we know today, and even with our own personal relationship history with Him we can see proof for ourselves that God’s character has always been consistently trustworthy. No, we (and others) may not have always gotten what we wanted the way (and timing) we wanted it but that’s because God always knows, wants, and does what is ultimately best for us (and others). His ways are always higher and greater than anything we could ever come up with on our own. When we don’t get what we want when we want it (right that minute) it’s usually because God wants something even better for us … something that we would receive if only we would choose to be patient and would choose to trust in Him and His ways (and in His timing) believing that we will not be put to shame as His Word declares. So, today, the timeless truth to remember is that we need to intently listen to the “whispers” of God’s Word and God’s Spirit that speaks to our soul (and choose to ignore all the loudly spoken lies). We need to trust and believe His voice that would never lead us astray. We need to trust His voice that would only lead us into the good plans and purposes that He has for us. As we follow His leading we can be assured that when we are faithful to obey, He is faithful to bless (not shame us).
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!