Becoming A Defensive Christian

Defense Wins Championships

Game planSuperbowl 50 brought a lot of controversy and drama. Fortunately, a good game took place too. In fact, the game produced one of the best defensive battles I’ve seen since I started watching football the year of the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Denver prepared by studying tapes of Carolina’s offense, and then they developed their defensive game plan based on what they saw. Good strategy because guess what plays Carolina used during the Super Bowl? Exactly what they’d been using all season. Nothing new. So, excellence in preparation met with amazing talent, and the Denver Broncos pulled out a win few expected.

Our Defensive Strategy

Christian Armor Email SalutationThe championship difference made by the Bronco defense in Super Bowl 50 reminds  me of how a solid defense is crucial to victory in the Christian walk too. (I love how God uses everyday life to speak his truths into my life.)

The Bible certainly calls for a defensive-heavy strategy for success as Christians. Though offense stills remains important, defense certainly receives more options.

There are four specifically defensive weapons in the Armor of God listed in Ephesians 6: the breastplate, shield, belt and helmet. The footwear and the sword could be considered both defensive and offensive weapons.

Defense protects. It keeps the enemy — the opponent — from infiltrating and taking over. Defense keeps the opponent from gaining victory. As Christians, we must become defensive specialists.

Become a Defensive Specialist

While the opponent changes from game to game in football, it remains the same day in and day out for Christians. Since “we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11), we can become defensive specialists too and keep the devil’s point scoring to a minimum. How do we do this?

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11)

Maybe you, like me, learned about the Armor of God in Sunday school but never really understood its application until much later in life. Not until I realized the value of a solid defense in other applications did I truly understand how it must also be a consistent focus in my life as a Christian.

Just as John Elway did with the Denver Broncos, I need to rebuild my defense and develop a strategy that will allow me to lead a more victorious life. I’m  tired of being defeated. I’m tired of feeling exposed. Time to fortify my offense through the strengthening of my defense.

What does a solid defensive strategy using God’s armor look like?

23 thoughts on “Becoming A Defensive Christian

  1. Kari,
    Obedience is so important to a defense. You have to follow the strategy in order to help your defense function well. Sometimes defenses fail because one person was out of position or did not carry out their assigned responsibilities. On football defenses you are expected to be in certain gaps during a play to defend your ground. If you are not in the gap no one else will be for they are covering their own gaps. You could have a lot of talent on your team but if it is undisciplined and unwilling to obey the strategy then an offense of not as talented people can exploit them. This translates to life in a lot of ways. We have to be in obedience to our responsibilities at our work, in our marriage, and as parents and friends. If we are not stepping into our gaps it leaves us open for failure. We fail and we also place people in the position where they have no confidence in us which damages our relationships.

    • Your comment got at another aspect of defense that I have been making notes on and plan to write about in the near future – gap integrity. Have heard that terms many times while watching football and in other contexts and agree that it is truly an important part of defense. The Judges' scripture certainly alludes to the gap integrity. So much of defense is simply not leaving holds where Satan or the world can reach in and grab on. That's the essence of a solid defense, a defense that allows the offense to do what it was designed to do.

  2. Now you are talking my language – I was an old Defensive Coorindator on the sidelines for years. Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, Samuel, Nathan, and all the priests and propets were God's defensive leaders, but the people often refused to listen to their game plan that God gave them to share. Great message…

    • Thanks, Coach. I love how God uses sports to help us learn more about Him. There are so many connections. We are able to connect with others through sports in a way we would not be able to otherwise. I find this especially true with my youngest son. Unfortunately, as is the case often on sports teams, the players don't listen to the coach. Frustrating for the coach, and I'm sure God feels frustration too.

      • One comment after rereading your description of the equipment. The Sword (Word of God) is not offensive but defensive. It is key to standing firm against the wiles of evil. It counters and deflects the thrusts against a Christian that will come to kill and destroy. Anyone who enters a sword fight thinking merely of offense will leave him or her-self open to defeat. God's warriors are not to kill and destroy the enemy but to protect themselves and stand firm when attacked. Also nots,all the equipment is designed for facing the battle head-on and never turn their back,which cannot be protected,13Therefore 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.

        • Good additional thoughts, Mike. As I thought about your comment, my mind pictured the sword battles I've seen in movies, and it really is both a defensive and offensive weapon. I may change what I wrote in the post, or I may address this in a later post. I'm thinking of doing several posts on the armor of God to help shore up my own defense. You're right about the battles being forward facing too, which also has some significant application. More to think about before I write more on it for sure. Thanks.

  3. Very important message. I read a quote that relates this weekend. “Christians don’t plan too sin, but they also don’t plan not to.” Paraphrasing, but I think anticipating temptation and planning our response is an important part of defense.

    • Terrific quote Melanie! Too often, the reason a Christian "falls" is because he/she did nothing to stop it. It's not that he/she sought it out but simply failed to keep up a strong defense. Having a plan is a very important part of a defense. Actually, I had notes to write about the importance of having a plan at some point. Going to add your comment to those notes. You & Mark are giving me lots to use in future posts!

      • Melanie is right. Alot of time a football team gets beat by plays that an offense runs that are not new to the defense. They got beat because they did not prepare themselves on how to handle those type plays. We have to remind ourselves what we have to do when faced with different attacks. They may not be new but we may not have prepared ourselves for them. I think most of the time we fail it is not because something new attacks us but because we did not stay prepared against that which we know we fall prey too.

        • Reminds me of how a football prepares its defense for the team it's going to play next. They study that team and make a plan specific to playing that team. While we do need a defense against new attacks, I definitely agree that it's the "usual" stuff that gets us the most. We tend to get lax far to easily, and then we find ourselves defeated under something that we thought we had already had victory over. Defense requires a lot of diligence and deliberate planning on our parts for sure.

  4. "God gave the Israelites specific orders to rid the land they were conquering of all foreign gods and people. He did this as a defensive strategy, to protect them from getting distracted from Him and turning to other gods."

    I think we all have to do this in different areas of our lives. I noticed this was a whole new experience when I started blogging – I can see God working in me and through different blogging experiences to prepare keep me from being distracted and turning to other gods.

    • We certainly have to have a plan in place to deal with distractions. Just finished a discussion about this with my 12-year-old to help him stay focused in this week before Christmas break. At all ages, we must put a defensive strategy in place to prevent distractions and then effectively work through the ones we do encounter.

  5. I think it's necessary to talk about the armor of God in the context of the struggle that we will inevitably face. We put on the armor for a reason – and the more we remember that, the stronger our desire will be to be protected. The thing about defense is that it requires constant vigilance. There are no time-outs or breaks. The moment we think we're OK, that's probably the moment we're the most vulnerable!

    • Yes! A good defense requires vigilance. We must deliberately and consistently put on the armor to be prepared. Just like in football, you never know when a turnover will take place and you'll need to get your defense on the field right away. Or, better yet, in baseball where there is constant switching between offense and defense. The only way to sort of give our defense a rest is by using the offensive weapons God gives us Our feet & His Word!

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  8. I go to baseball Kari. Good pitching beats good hitting. For the most part anyway. Many World Series are not won by the team with the most bangers but the one with the stingiest pitchers. I believe we need a good defense when it comes to defeating the enemy spiritually as well.
    My recent post Love

  9. Kari
    I have been thinking about this post for a couple of days. I enjoyed rereading the comments from last time. This made me think about the reason we don't have many offensive weapons. I think it deals with our mission. Our mission is not to defeat Satan. God is taking care of that. We are to protect ourselves against his threats but we are not called to take the fight to Satan. We are to worship God and seek to bring others into His kingdom to do the same. We fight for what is right and good and we fight to protect ourselves against the draw of sin but we are not fighting others.

    • Terrific point! We are not meant to defeat Satan because Jesus did that already. God offers the protective gear necessary to enable us to spread the word about the victory that already exists. Your thoughts made me reflect again on why I named my blog "Struggle to Victory." We struggle for a variety of reasons – for what's right, to protect ourselves, etc. – but we don't struggle to obtain victory. We struggle while at the same time recognize that ultimate victory already exists, and that is the victory we're struggling to or toward. Thanks for not only taking the time to respond but for taking the thought time over the past two days. You are a blessing and an encouragement to me!

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