Winter 2022 magazine

Daily Devotional: Friday, November 25 - Defense & Offense

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” — Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

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Ask any athlete to name one of their favorite Bible verses and many will choose Philippians 4:13. It is extremely encouraging, inspiring and motivating that we can “do all things,” but let’s be careful to not forget the “through Christ” part.

However, the focus of this devotional will be on the third word in this verse, that small little word “do.” Automatically, my mind goes to the Nike slogan — “Just Do It.” As Christians, we can have the confidence through Christ to just do it.

If we were to break down this little word “do,” the D would stand for defense. In athletics, it’s important to have a strong defense. Coaches often say, “Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.” It’s vital for that football team to stop the QB and running back from scoring on the 1-yard line when it’s fourth-and-goal. It’s crucial for that basketball team to get that stop when the final seconds are ticking off the clock. A goalie must step up and make a save on a penalty shot. The infield must be ready to turn a double play when a runner is on first base. Defense is crucial in teams being successful and ultimately winning games.

The same is true in our spiritual life. We have an opponent. Satan is our enemy and he looks for ways to destroy our lives. We must defend ourselves daily and be aware of his schemes. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6, it’s important to put on the full armor of God. Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. He wants to destroy our marriages, our families, our homes. He wants to distract us and keep us from being surrendered to Jesus. We must defend ourselves.

As important as defense is in sports, it’s obvious that offense must play a huge role as well. You must be able to score runs, goals or put up points to be successful. If the pitcher of a baseball team completes his nine-inning game only giving up one run but his teammates don’t provide any hits or runs, they lose the game 1-0. Getting hits, getting runs, generating offense leads the team toward a successful result.

Again, the same concept translates to our spiritual life. What are we doing offensively for God? Are we attending church? Are we part of a small group? Do we take the time to read God’s Word daily? Are we spending time in prayer? Do we share the Good News of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done? These are our offensive strategies as believers. We do these things out of love for our Savior rather than duty. It’s not a checklist. It’s what we “get to do” rather than what we “have to do.” Christianity is not a spectator sport. God wants us to be engaged. What are we doing to advance the Kingdom of God? Are we playing any offense?

The best players are the ones who can play both offense and defense. I pray that as Christians we not only defend ourselves, but we provide a great offensive game as well.

Prayer: “Dear God, help me to recognize the importance in my life to defend myself against the evil one. Please allow me to be more intentionally offensive minded as I strive to live for You.”

— Jim Good

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