One of the most amazing facets of God’s creation is how land animals and sea creatures are equipped to defend themselves against predators. Take for example the octopus. Commonly known for its ability to squirt ink to confuse its predators, the octopus is also able to change its shape, body texture, and color in order to blend seamlessly into its environment and go unnoticed by predators. Another example is the porcupine, which is able to turn back even the fiercest predator with its needle sharp quills that cause serious damage. Humans also have a strong defense mechanism called the immune system. It‘s astounding how the immune system is able to differentiate between what substances are beneficial or harmful to the body and dispense white blood cells to eliminate the harmful substances. As incredible as the natural defense mechanisms are for land animals, sea creatures, and even our physical bodies, God gives an even greater defense mechanism to Christians, and that defense mechanism is His Word. Yet, even though God gives everything Christians need to defend themselves against anything they will face, a lot of Christians find it hard to defend themselves and their faith with the Bible. A major reason for this difficulty stems from the lack of memorizing God’s Word. In order to overcome this struggle, Christians must understand that once they put the Word in their heart by memorizing it, they will be better equipped to defend themselves and their faith.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 NIV)
As mentioned in the post prior to this one, hiding the Word in one’s heart allows God’s Word to manifest itself in one’s thoughts, words, and actions. To show how this relates to using the Word to defend, let me share this illustration. Today as I was listening to the radio, a car journalist was being interviewed about the new features that cars are using to make the driving experience safer for everyone. As he was talking, he went into the new crash avoidance features that are being added to cars. These features included blind spot monitoring, which alerts the driver when something gets to close, and also a feature that will stop the car if a head on collision with an object is about to occur. Reading this may make you wonder, “What do crash avoidance features on cars have to do with putting scripture in my heart?” Well, the thing about those safety features is that though they are placed internally within the car, they cause an external reaction to occur when the driver faces the external dangers of the road. In the same way, when we place God’s Word inside our hearts, we are setting up a defense internally that will manifest itself externally to help us avoid the danger of sinning. As we start to set God’s Word in our heart, two abilities will start to manifest themselves: the ability to recognize spiritual threats and to react properly to them. Both are key to a strong defense. In Psalm 119:69, the psalmist shares this:
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. (Psalm 119:69)
Lies are probably the greatest threat to a Christian’s faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, lies and deception are the devil’s main M.O. (method of operation). He will often use those who are proud, arrogant, or both to deliver lies to us so that we might be deceived. However, because the psalmist has hidden God’s Word in his heart, he is able to recognize the words of the arrogant for what they are: lies. Because of this recognition, he is then able to react properly to them by believing and holding true to God’s Word rather than letting lies contaminate his heart. Another example of using the Word to defend ourselves and our faith is seen in Luke 4:1-13 when Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. In order to understand what I am about to share with you, notice how the devil tempts Jesus. He tempts Jesus with food, power, and a means of getting people to believe in Him without going to the cross. The commonality that connects these temptations is that they are personal to Jesus. Jesus is currently on the tail end of a forty day fast, He has a chance to gain power over all the earth from Satan, and if He performed a super natural act to get people to believe, He would not have to face the very cross He ask God to take away from Him (Luke 22:42). If Satan attacked Jesus with temptation that was personally tailored for His desires, he will certainly do the same to us. Satan’s attacks are personal. He knows exactly what can and will draw us away and trap us in sin (James 1:13-15). However, notice how Jesus responds to each temptation. Because He recognizes what the devil is trying to do, and the fact that He Himself is the Word, He responds to each temptation with and does not give the devil an inch. Precision is important. In order to not be over taken by an incoming force, that force must be met with a force equal to itself. Another thing to notice is the of Jesus’ response due to knowing the Word. Jesus does not have to think on the devil’s words because the Word within Him already starts to react and is ready to defend Himself with God’s Word (1 Peter 3:15). As I close, I would like to share the most important part of using the Bible as a defense. When the psalmist is talking about keeping God’s Word and Luke shares Jesus is being tempted, the main reason why the Word of God was so effective was because they both replied on it during temptation they faced. The psalmist could have relied on his own knowledge and Jesus could have easily commanded the devil, a demon, to leave Him (Mark 5:8). However, because they chose the Word to defend them against everything, we can learn something important from them. The Word of God is, and always will be effective, no matter the time, place or circumstance. However, makes no difference if we have memorized ten scriptures or a thousand scriptures. If we choose to use anything beside the Word of God to defend ourselves, we will not experience the effectiveness of God’s Word in our lives, and the lies and temptations of this world will defeat us. So choose to defend yourself by using God’s Word. Your brother in Christ, Joshua