Encounter: Colossians 2:6-15, 3:1-17, 4:2-6, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:33, Matthew 7:24-29
To Prepare: to be firm, be stable, be established, to be set up, to be ready, to make arrangements.
“Offense wins games, but defense wins championships'' is a saying attributed to famous coach Bear Bryant. Clearly, whether you are watching Monday night football or coverage of the war in the Ukraine, we can see how important a strong defense is in winning, protecting and preserving what you possess. We can even go as far as saying some battles will never come to pass when your defense is firm, stable and consistent. In more simple terms, know what is yours and don’t allow trespassers.
In our neck of the woods, it's not uncommon to see a “No Trespassing” sign nailed to a tree or on a signpost. When you see one of these signs, it is a clear indication that you are about to cross over on someone’s property. It’s a clear marker that may include printed consequences in the shape of a gun or threat of prosecution. It’s also clear that this person is serious about protecting what is theirs. As followers of Jesus, we possess something much greater than a piece of land. We possess an inheritance that is eternal, a relationship with our Creator. Are we serious about protecting it?
Defense is essential in the invisible battles we may face daily. And if we are firm, stable and consistent in living with a defensive stance, we are prepared to face whatever comes our way. The battles become less like surprise bombings and more as something you were expecting and already had in place the defense measures needed to block any trespassers looking to take or destroy what is rightfully yours.
The armor image in Ephesians 6 is a description of how we live out a dynamic relationship with the Trinity, living the Way of Jesus. It is a lifestyle not a checklist. It is not a mantra we recite every morning in a brief prayer time. Learning to live life with God is a rhythm practiced and cultivated over weeks, months and years. It is knowing what is ours as sons and daughters of God and knowing how to defend it from trespassers.
This Sunday we will be reminded of some practical ways Jesus has given us to create strong defenses around our lives and where to hang those “No Trespassing,” signs, so we can live in the place of victory that is already a reality when we follow Jesus.
I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 The Message
On the Defense with You,
What is it we need to protect by having a strong defense?
Where are your “Do Not Trespass” signs?
What are some ways you can defend what you possess in your Life with God?
Is there someone you know who has had their defenses broken down and has lost some battles. Ask God to help you remind them that the battle is never won when God has given them the defenses they need to take back what is theirs. When ground is taken, we know God is with us to launch a counter attack to gain our property back.
Gather: Every team or army has a defense strategy. Read and discuss the scriptures above and create a defense strategy for yourselves and our community.