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 had enough? Are you ready for the struggle you’ve been in to be over with … like, yesterday? Do you wish you could see (and truly believe) there really is a light at the end of the tunnel … for you (not just for everyone else, but for you, too)? Well, I’ve got good news … there is! According to God’s Word, there will come an end to our suffering. In fact, 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV) tells us, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Therefore, we can take comfort that, whatever we may be going through now, it will NOT last forever! There IS coming a time when the suffering will be over and we will be restored and not only restored, but also made strong, firm, and steadfast! No more wishy-washy … no more indecisiveness … no more being controlled by endless doubts and nagging concerns … but STRONG, FIRM, AND STEADFAST! After having suffered for a little while – in whatever trial we may have had to go through and endure – in the end, we will come to see a purpose in it … we will come to see, probably in hindsight, that the suffering actually produced a “harvest” of something good … something that we would not have received if we had not gone through the trial. Maybe you’ve heard the story about the butterfly and how, as it’s breaking free of its cocoon, it’s important for it to struggle, for, without the struggle, it’s wings would never be strong enough to endure the coming days when their purpose is to soar! If someone tried to cut that cocoon to “help” the butterfly, they, in reality, wouldn’t be helping at all. Rather, they would be preventing it from attaining it’s true strength! So, whatever you’re going through today … big or little … just remember these timeless truths … there is a light at the end of the tunnel! There will be a day when your pain gives way to victory! There is a purpose in the suffering! You will be restored and made strong, firm, and steadfast! Then, and only then, will you be fully equipped to soar … and not only to soar, but also to bring God glory!