How To Defend Yourself as a Christian
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” ~Jesus
Let’s face it, not everyone is excited about you being a Christian–that includes both non-believers and believers.
As a matter of fact, some of the people in your life who are used to getting their way with the old version of you, now, are just plain furious. Their tactics no longer work. When this ensues, prepare yourself–no, don’t just prepare yourself, HAVE YOUR MIND MADE UP AHEAD OF TIME, to do a few things:
- Forgive. You must remember that the entire premise of Christianity is based on forgiveness–not justice, not revenge, not tit-for-tat–but 100% undeserved forgiveness. So if you are wanting Christ to help you defend yourself in unfair situations, you must have in your heart forgiveness-mode before you are even wronged. “BUT MATT IT’S NOT FAIR! IT HURTS! HOW CAN GOD LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME WHEN I’M JUST TRYING MY BEST TO LIVE THROUGH HIM?! I WANT TO GET THEM BACK! YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND!”…Friend, I can relate. I know what it’s like to feel disoriented while following Jesus because you just took a sucker-punch to the face. You’re gonna be fine. This will strengthen you. Always remember that God is with you and He’s not causing this, the devil is, through people. God is actually using this for a good future purpose. So prepare yourself ahead of time and know that attacks are coming your way, and decide before you get attacked, to forgive. To make it easier to forgive beforehand, stay focused on what you did to Jesus at the Cross because of your sin. He decided to forgive you ahead of time, and so should we, with others.
- Don’t take the bait, don’t retaliate. This was a very difficult thing for me to learn because I’m a passionate person, and I’m well-versed. My vocabulary is dense, it’s a gift that I can use for God, or against Him. I have a wonderful ability to debate with the best of them, and if I have to I can plead my case and get you back verbally, splendidly. But that’s not what God wants me to do. Even now, I have to consciously allow the Holy Spirit to make me pause, pray, proceed when I get punched in the gut with an attack from others. Just the other day, I had a supposedly Christian man rip into me on social media. My initial response was to attack back, but I didn’t, even though every fiber of my being (my flesh) was telling me to. But even worse than not commenting back, I white-washed my newfound resentment for this man by blocking him on Facebook while saying to myself, “I don’t need this crap.” It wasn’t 45 seconds later that the Holy Spirit told me to unblock Him, and then send him a message telling him how much God loves him and that He has a great plan for his life. This was like eating a rotten lemon, but afterwards, I felt good. I had overcame evil with good (Romans 12:21). I think he was in shock because he responded with, “Thanks, that’s what’s so good about faith.” Weird.
- Don’t force your defense. I lived most of my life forcing how I felt, verbally. This is not good because we are both spirit and flesh. Our flesh’s mouth has no scruples, so when we let it run wild even when pleading our case, bad things happen. Further, Jesus said we shouldn’t even worry about what we should say when we have to defend ourselves, but instead, the Holy Spirit will give us the words (see Luke 12:11,12). So what I’ve realized is when I feel myself about to force words out of my mouth (or through the typing of my fingers) in my defense, I’ll just be quiet. For too many years, I just spouted out whatever whenever, trying to defend myself. I can’t live like that and enjoy the peace of God in me, even when I’m coming under attack by people who hate me, dislike me, or who are simply jealous of me. If I do, then I’ll respond in sinful anger. The problem with responding in sinful anger is we always regret what we said, or did, and then we spend more time feeling guilty and cleaning things up than it was worth. It’s just like my drinking. Sure, I “just” wanted to get a buzz to release my feelings and relax, but the hangovers and dumb choices I made while getting that buzz was never worth it. So instead of defending yourself with your words, defend yourself with prayer. Find your comfort in Christ. Ask God, “Tell me what to say.” Most of the time, He’ll tell you to just keep your mouth shut and let Him deal with those who are treating you poorly. And when you finally do have something to say, it solves problems, God’s way.
So today, my friends, know this: You don’t need to defend yourself! God will do that for you! He is your loving heavenly Father! He protects you at all times, even in the middle of the storm! He knows what you can handle! YOU ARE STRONG IN CHRIST! He sees what’s going on and your time is coming! KEEP PASSING YOUR TESTS! He sees clearly, that some people–even Christians–will try to goad you into defending yourself sinfully, and then try to use that sin against you. Don’t do it. Mind your own business, pray for those who hate you, and be FULL OF JOY in the meantime! You are attaining the full measure of your faith by doing so, and becoming more like Christ in your mind and body!
A prayer for you: Good morning Lord! What a spectacular morning it is here in Missouri! I want to thank you for a good night’s rest, for my good health, and for Jesus. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Those who are in a severe battle, those who and are tempted to handle things their own way, strengthen them! Show them that it is in our WEAKNESS of not doing things OUR WAY, that we become strong as an oak tree–that we become STRONG LIKE CHRIST! Establish your ways in them, and then give them the courage to walk them out! In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, amen.
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