May 4, 2018
Control and Defenses: Protection or Destruction
An amazing turning point in my life occurred when God woke me up to realize I had spent 25 years of my life building up walls and hiding behind them. As you’d expect, these defenses gave me the illusion that I was protected and in control. But the truth was that I was just spiraling farther out of control. The defenses only locked me inside a prison with my worst enemy … ME!
When we hide behind self-built defenses, we may have a sense that we are in control. We tell ourselves that we’re holding our feelings in check, avoiding conflict, stepping around sticky situations. But in reality, we are not in control at all. Our problems and our need to avoid discomfort have been at the wheel, steering us down life’s path. We’ve pushed away the people who really care about us and who could really help us. We’ve put off developing and growing useful skills to attack adversity head-on. And we’ve allowed our problem to take control. It’s the proverbial “slippery slope” to destruction.
This is exactly where Satan wants us. We buy into his lie that these defenses are self-protective. Unfortunately, when we only measure the situation at hand, they do seem to protect us from immediate me-centered harm. But they are actually self-destructive to all 3 spheres of brain chemistry, psychological maturity, and spiritual growth, both immediately and down the road. In this spiritual battle, when we try to defend ourselves using our own strength, our defenses become allies of the enemy.
Self-control comes from a place of confidence, not fear. Most people usually exert self-control from a position of fear. True self-control means choosing and acting on the basis of who we are in Christ, relying on God for strength, guidance, and wisdom, then making the active choice to yield to Him while following His path for our life. For this to begin, our defensive walls must crumble so we can live in the power of the Holy Spirit, guided by the instruction of The Holy Bible. Then impulses, urges, and temptations to deviate off His path are easy to squash and ignore.
Most of our defenses are born from needless or exaggerated fear, from not knowing the truth about the spiritual realities of life, and from not carrying or using the spiritual weapons at our disposal to fight our own “demons” and Satan’s evil forces. But know that because of Jesus Christ and through Him …
You are redeemed – paid for at a great price. (Ephesians 1:7)
You are forgiven – there is no condemnation for your sin, it’s been forgotten. (Psalm 103:12)
You are strong and capable – you can do everything through Christ. (Philippians 4:13)
You are a conqueror – an overcomer. (Romans 8:37)
Today, examine your areas of stress. Do you let your circumstances or your feelings control you? Do your coping mechanisms help you … or do they just act as knee-jerk bridges to the next stressor? Build your defenses on Biblical principles, not just to escape your stressor, but also to shine and be strengthened by that very stressor. Know yourself and be seen as God sees you … the Bible makes it clear who you are as a Christian. When you are under pressure, why do you have trouble believing how God sees you? Whether you turn to God’s answers for your spiritual yearnings, or you turn to worldly answers is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, Help me to stop hiding behind my self-built, self-destructive defenses. Help me to see myself as You do because of Christ: redeemed, forgiven, strong, capable, and an overcomer. I know I get sucked into my old way of thinking. I cringe at adversity and get complacent during good times. Help me remember always what a great price Jesus paid at the cross so that I could have this new identity and new weapons to resist temptation. I pray this and all prayers through the One whom You sent to pay for my new identity, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. Romans 8:37
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20