I tend to get very defensive when I am accused of something I did not do and/or in cases of injustice. While there is certainly a time for this, I believe we would do well to focus less on self-defense and more on honoring God through defending gospel truth.
So often, we are quick to get on our “soap boxes” and get defensive about our “pet topics” (i.e. why Daylight “Saving” time is ridiculous), but are we so quick to defend the truth of God’s Word for the purpose of pointing people to Him?
Furthermore, are we as adamant about declaring the eternal truth as we are about righting temporary wrongs? I fear the answer is far-too-often no. May God help us to be biblical in our walks with Him by prioritizing the right tone and content of our conversations! Do not defend yourself. Defend eternal truth.
When warning of the coming persecution that was and is the reality for much of the Christian world and is promised to continue until He returns, Jesus said, “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of My name. It will lead to an opportunity for you to witness. Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict” (Luke 21:12-15).
Did you catch all that? Persecution and injustice will “lead to an opportunity for you to witness.” Pointing others to Jesus, not defending our “rights,” must be our top priority. “Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” Praise the Lord!
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching from one of my favorite passages of Scripture in the entire Bible (Acts 6:8 – 8:3 ). I love the story found in these verses because Stephen lives out Jesus’ promises in Luke 12:11-12 and 21:12-19. Stephen was wrongly put on trial before the most powerful religious court in the land and falsely accused of things for which he was innocent. Yet, Stephen did exactly as Jesus declared and promised – he did not defend himself but rather preached the gospel.
Through Stephen’s boldness and biblical faithfulness, he actually put the Sanhedrin on trial! What an incredible moment in church history!
In my message Sunday morning, I hope to challenge my hearers to really count the cost of biblical discipleship and see why following Jesus is worth the cost. The message should be available Sunday afternoon HERE.
Have you counted the cost of following Jesus? Are you relying on His Spirit to enable you to live for Him, knowing that only then are you truly prepared to die for Him? That begins, of course, by truly surrendering your life to Him and then continually walking with Him in obedience and faith.
If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, you can be assured you have His Spirit, just as Stephen did, and the evidence of His Spirit living in you is that you will endure to the end, just as Stephen did. As a result, let us focus on Jesus, not our temporary “rights and privileges,” being the priority of lives. To God be the glory!