Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 26, 2012

The Best Offense

Recently, I’ve watched quite a few basketball games as the NCAA tournament winds down to the championship game. More and more I’ve come to realize how much truth there is to the old saying that the best offense is a good defense. Most of the teams at this level have players who can shoot the ball and wage a good offense. However, without a good defense that can keep the other team from scoring, victory may be more elusive. I’ve observed games this season where high scoring players have been reduced to minimal scoring because of the opponent’s good, solid defense that prevented them from getting to the basket. On the other hand, I’ve also seen teams that struggled at the backboards who were able to stay alive in the game because of the hard work of their defensive players who prevented the other team from scoring.

 

I wonder. Is the same thing true in our Christian walk? Is the best offense a good defense? I would answer yes and no. Certainly, Christians should be willing to stand up for what they believe. Even the apostle Peter wrote that believers should “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). So, yes, we should have a good defense. Yet, unlike a basketball game, Christians are not trying to defeat other individuals they encounter in the world. Any defense they make is rendered in an effort to exalt Christ and to help others come to know Him. So, no, the best offense is not a good defense, but a good, solid offense that seeks to advance the cause of Christ in the world. It is more how I live my life than how I defend what I do.

 

In all honesty, just as in a basketball game, a good Christian walk relies both on a good offense and a sound defense. In fact, Paul instructed the Ephesians on how to equip themselves to be prepared for either offense or defense in their Christian walk.

 

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

 

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”

(Ephesians 6:10-18)

 

These verses remind us of several things that can help us in our Christian walk.

 

  • Know our enemy.

 

Our enemy is Satan himself. It is not the sinner. It is not the child molester or the murderer. Neither is it the politician, the preacher, the liberal, or the conservative. Paul urges us to recognize our real enemy and to equip ourselves to withstand his taunts. When we spend our time arguing with fellow believers over issues that are not essential to salvation, we are aiding and abetting the enemy. It would be similar to one team dropping the ball in the opposing team’s basket. Instead of working together against our real enemy, we waste energy, effort, and precious time that could be directed to reaching a world for Christ.

 

  • Know how to prepare ourselves.

 

We equip ourselves with truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer. These are the things that will prepare us to take a stand for Christ in the world. Notice in the Scripture quoted above that all but two of these items are couched in a soldier’s defensive dress – his belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, and helmet. These are the items that help defend the soldier as he goes into battle. The word of God is referred to as an offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit. God’s Word needs no defense. As the writer of Hebrews attests: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Prayer is the essential element that unites all the pieces of armor and prepares the Christian for whatever situation he or she may face.

 

  • Know the battle belongs to the Lord.

 

Paul instructs us in verse 10 to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” We prepare ourselves for battle, but our strength and power come from God alone. The battle ultimately belongs to Him. He enlists us for service and uses us in His work, but we are powerless without Him.

 

Recently, I heard a basketball coach talk about one of his players who had been injured. He talked about how instrumental he was to his team’s success, how he knew how to feed the ball to the right players at the right times at the right places on the court. The coach knew he could count on this player to run his plays and to bring out the best in all the other players on the team. Oh, how I want to be a player like that on God’s team. I may not be the one running the plays. I may be the one who can only shoot from one spot at one angle. But will I do my part? Will I take time to prepare myself so I can stand against evil and for righteousness? Will I seek God and rely on His strength and power? Will I be willing to do whatever it takes to do whatever He asks me to do? Will I do my part on God’s team? Will you do yours? Victory is waiting!

 

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(1 Corinthians 15:57)

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