Protect and Guard: Don’t Defend

God-Defending

 

 

Pro·tect

verb \prə-ˈtekt\

: to keep (someone or something) from being harmed, lost, etc.

 

Guard

verb

: to watch (someone) in order to prevent escape

: to protect (someone or something) from danger or attack

 

De·fend

verb \di-ˈfend\

: to fight in order to keep (someone or something) safe : to not allow a person or thing to hurt, damage, or destroy (someone or something)

 


 

While all three of these words essentially serve similar functions, people often misunderstand just how different they are. Most of scripture teaches that we need to protect and guard the truth in our hearts that has been given to us by God. The misunderstanding that many people have is that this truth, Jesus Christ, needs defending.

 

But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. (1 Peter 3:15)

 

This verse, out of context, can lead believers to a misunderstanding of the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many begin to make logical defenses, philosophical debates, and even arguments with those that don’t know Christ. Peter isn’t saying that believers should equip themselves to start a debate about the validity of Christ. That would be going against the very life of Jesus. When Jesus walked the earth, He made sure to let the Pharisees, Saducees, and Scribes know that their major “faith flaw” was that they relied too much on the scrolls and laws, rather than the author of the laws. Peter would not then refute Christ (in chapter 3 of his letter) and say “Go back to logical arguments and become Pharisees.”

What readers forget to focus on is the latter part of the second sentence. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you […]. What Peter is suggesting is that we have our testimony ready when anyone asks for it. While we are to actively pursue relationships with those that don’t know Christ so that we might win some, we are also called to have our story ready for whenever someone asks for proof of God. Believers may not know every philosophical argument written in the world, but a believer can confidently speak about the change in their lives. So here’s what Peter is really trying to focus on:

 

What not to do: The self-focused vague approach

Non-believer: “So why are you always so happy, loving, and just different from everyone else?”

Believer: “I just feel so blessed all the time and I just don’t worry! I was saved and so life is just awesome. Praise God!”

Non-believer: “Well that’s great for you but I don’t believe in God. I study Philosophy and logic”

Believer: “Oh well do you want me to disprove your theories and make you believe that God exists?”

 

 

What to do: Point to Christ

Non-believer: “So why are you always so happy, loving, and just different from everyone else?”

Believer: “Before I met Jesus I was a mess. There was no fulfillment even in things that temporarily satisfied. You can ask my friends…most of them would tell you I was a completely different person. So when Jesus showed up and offered me unconditional love and acceptance, and said that He paid that price for me already, I couldn’t resist. I mean who wouldn’t be changed by love like that? It’s all because of Jesus that I am the way that I am today and I would love to tell you more about Him if you’d like.”

Non-believer: “Well I’m not sure I believe all that stuff about God but I can’t argue your story.”

 

 

The difference in these made-up scenarios is that Christians can tend to do several things that only delay and hinder non-believers from knowing Christ. Being vague about Christ because we are trying to be socially acceptable can lead to misunderstandings and questions that only cause us to debate our faith rather than share it. There is nothing in our human nature that will draw anyone to Christ. HE draws us to Himself because only He can do that.

 

And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw and attract all men [Gentiles as well as Jews] to Myself. (John 12:32)

 

 

So this is why scripture warns us (in several places) to guard our hearts. It is not because we have any power to attract anyone to God, rather it is because Christ dwells within us that we become attractive.

 

May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love (Ephesians 3:17)

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

 

 

Jesus says that He is the way and the truth and the life, and therefore the only way that life can spring forth from our deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) is if Christ has made his permanent home in our hearts.

 

When David, faced off against Goliath, he (David) was not defending God. David was offended that a mere man would dare defy God and His chosen people. David was obeying God. The battle was “already won” by the Lord and David was just the instrument to prove that.

 

 

There is no need for the created being to defend the creator of all things. Nothing that has been created, no philosophy, no argument, no weapon, no idea, etc. could ever take away from the glory of God. The infinitely powerful creator of the universe does not need a week and dying vessel to defend His truth. This does not mean that we aren’t allowed to speak about why we believe He is who He says He is, but that our Job isn’t to argue, it is to testify. Our lives are meant to be testimonies, walking proof of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. We are his ambassadors who go into the world on HIS behalf to reintroduce people back to their first love.

 

Protecting and guarding truth in our hearts is the same as keeping Christ and His Word close at all times. Defending Him is something that He doesn’t need our help for. Just as the definition says, defending is “to not allow a person or thing to hurt, damage, or destroy” something. Our God who was, and is, and is to come, the eternal and limitless one, cannot be hurt, damaged, or destroyed.There is no one like Him. There is not one that can challenge Him. There is not one that can equal Him.

 

He does not need defending. 

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