“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. This not only includes people who aren’t believers but also Christians who don’t understand God’s grace. As a matter of fact, some of the people who are used to getting their way with you–before you allowed God to begin renewing your mind–now, are just plain furious. Their tactics no longer work because you are learning how to act and react according to your true self. So when you are attacked–not if–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. It’s not based on justice, revenge, or tit-for-tat, but undeserved forgiveness. So if you want Christ to help you defend yourself in unfair situations, have your mindset in 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 let Him live through me?! You just don’t understand!” Friend, I can relate. I know what it’s like to feel disoriented while attempting to let God guide you. Sucker-punches to the face of your soul don’t feel good, especially when you’re trying to do the right thing. But you’ll be fine, don’t worry. This will strengthen you! Always remember God is with you and He’s not causing this–the devil and his demons are through people. The power of sin is through people. Unrenewed mindsets are through people. God, on the other hand, is actually using these unfair situations for a good future purpose! So prepare yourself ahead of time and decide to forgive before you are attacked. You are a forgiving person! Forgiveness is not based on your feelings but on your choices. To make this easier, stay focused on what you did to Jesus at the Cross because of your sin. He decided to forgive you ahead of time, not because of His feelings, but because He made a choice to forgive you.
- 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 my vocabulary is dense. This is a gift I can use for God or against Him. So when I’m using my gift of communication in a loving and respectful way, I’m being my true self. When I’m not and I’m attacking others, I’m being a phony. Therefore, when someone intentionally disrespects me, just to get a rise out of me, what makes the most sense is to not respond immediately–or at all, in some cases. The Holy Spirit will always lead us to pause, pray, then proceed, when attacked. Most of the time He advises us, “Just let it go.” He’ll let you know if you’re being baited into a fight. Not too long ago, I had a supposedly Christian man rip into me on social media. My initial response was to attack back, but I didn’t. Rather than respond with a rude remark like his, I said to myself, “I don’t need this crap,” and I blocked him. It wasn’t 45 seconds later the Holy Spirit told me to unblock Him and send him a message telling him how much God loves him and that He has a great plan for his life. At first, this was like eating a rotten lemon, but afterwards I felt good. It’s amazing how comfortable we feel as children of God when we are showing grace. This proves that grace is natural for us as heaven-ready people. Also, I had overcame evil with good in an organic way (Romans 12:21). I think the guy was in shock when I messaged him because he responded with, “Thanks, that’s what’s so good about faith.” Weird, but whatever.
- Don’t force your defense. I’ve lived most of my life forcing how I felt, verbally. This is not a good idea because we are both spirit and flesh–and we also have mindsets which are being renewed by God’s Spirit each day. The flesh has no scruples when it is influenced by the power of sin, and our unrenewed pockets of old thinking do not match up perfectly with our spirit. So when we let our mouths run wild when pleading our case, bad things happen. The good news is, Jesus said we don’t even have to worry about what to say when we defend ourselves because His Holy Spirit will give us the words! (See Luke 12:11-12). So when I feel myself about to force words out of my mouth in my defense–or through the typing of my fingers–I’ll just be quiet. Forcing my defense is a red flag to sit still. For too many years I just spouted out whatever whenever–or posted it–trying to defend myself and ignoring God’s guidance. I can’t live that way and enjoy His peace. So when I’m coming under attack by people who dislike me, don’t understand me, or who are jealous of me, I need to be temporarily idle. This takes a lot more strength than being a blabbermouth, and if I don’t use my spiritual ability of self-control, then I’ll respond in sinful anger. The problem with responding in sinful anger is we always regret what we said or did, then we spend more time feeling bad and cleaning things up than it was worth. So instead of defending yourself with forced words, defend yourself with prayer. God knows who you are even if they don’t. When you feel like you need to defend yourself, just ask Him what you should 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, your words will solve problems, God’s way.
So today, my friends, know this: You don’t need to defend yourself! God will do that for you! He protects you at all times, even in the middle of your most strenuous battles! Don’t worry about your reputation or the trouble that others bring your way! 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! Keep developing your gifts! You are attaining the full measure of your faith by growing and maturing into who you truly are inside! God’s own child!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, today I want to thank you for my good health and for my home. These blessings you’ve given me are not overlooked! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them are struggling in a severe battle with other people, when they don’t have to be. You want us to be able to fight our battles and defend ourselves in a state of rest. Rest is where we work best, and only your Holy Spirit can reveal how to do this! As you teach us who we are as your children, you gently guide us into a newfound confidence. This confidence allows us to be able to deal with difficult situations and people with peace! Keep teaching us more on how to do this! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!