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?

Gap Integrity

2-1-13 game plan

In football, gap integrity means being where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. Defenses can fail when just one person is out of position or does not carry out his assigned responsibility.

Each defensive player is assigned a specific gap and is expected to defend that ground. If a player is not in his assigned gap, no one else will be there to cover the offense because they have their own gaps to fill. As a result, the other team gains ground.

A talented football team can fail when it lacks discipline and does not follow the strategy given by the coaches. In this way, a less-talented offense can exploit that more-talented defense and score points.

From Football to Life

In life, we have to live obediently and strategically in our work responsibilities, marriages, friendships, parenting, etc. Not filling these gaps – not being where we’re supposed to be when we’re supposed to be there – leaves our lives open for attack and failure.

Not only does a lack of gap integrity cause us to personally fail, but we place the ones we care about in a position where they must struggle to trust and have confidence in us. As a result, the relationship is significantly damaged, and the other team scores points.

A Solid Defense

A solid defense is one that gives its offense time and ground to do what it needs to do to score points.

A good defense fills holes (gaps) the other team might be trying to exploit.

A good defense listens to and follows the plan set forth by the coach. Many examples of godly leaders (coaches) exist: Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Samuel & Nathan. Unfortunately, the Israelites (players) refused to hear the message (follow the coach’s game plan).

A good defense prepares for the plays the offense they are playing next typically runs. We all have plays that Satan likes to run on us, and he never has anything new. We need to be prepared for these offensive attacks.

A good defense makes adjustments during the game. Because an offense constantly looks for holes in a defense, the defense must constantly adjust to the offenses new plan of attack.

Jesus gives us the perfect example of a solid defense in Matthew 4:1-11. When Satan tempted Him, Jesus defended His ground with scripture. God’s Word gives us the game plan. The Bible exists as our best protection against the advances of the other team.

The Game Plan

Someone once said, “Christians don’t plan to sin, but they also don’t plan not to.” And in failing to have a plan, we end up in a dangerous place. For this reason, we must anticipate temptation and plan responses. No, we can’t plan for every possible scenario, but having a plan will give us a much greater chance of success.

At the very least…

There are no timeouts, no half-time and no breaks. We must constantly be vigilant. We must keep in shape. We must fully know that the moment we think we’re okay is probably the moment we’re most vulnerable.

AMPLIFY: Social situations constantly derail me. Satan knows to attack me when I am attempting to be social. For this reason, I must be vigilant in having a game plan whenever I know I will be social. Not just during social situations either, but even more so right after them when I am hardest on myself.

Note: Thank you to those who commented on How to… Become A Defensive Specialist, giving much of the content for this post.

DISCUSSION: Describe one of the strategies in your defensive game plan.

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