I listened to the Pray As You Go App devotional for Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7th during the morning of April 6th. I usually listen to the PAYG devotion around midday, but because my wife and I were going to be at a Forgiveness Ministries seminar all day, I listened to it early.
The reading for that devotion was John 8:1-11, the story of the woman caught in adultery (which I know is considered by some to be of questionable authenticity but which I believe is genuine).
What caught my attention as I listened to this text being read twice was that the woman did not (maybe even could not) defend herself but had to be and allowed herself to be defended by Jesus. Conversely, I noticed that Jesus not only defended her but defender her ably and defended her in a way that did not obliterate her enemies but merely made them think.
This caught my attention because it applies to a clear need I have and have long had. I have always been defensive. For some reason (probably deep childhood wounding), I have felt the need to defend myself against any and every attack or slight. I have felt the need to defend myself aggressively and with extreme prejudice. One of my favorite (and most revealing )stories about this comes from my early high school days. A group of us were hanging around in the cafeteria when a guy named Paul said something about me. I can’t remember what that something was, but I do remember it was a joke rather than an actual attack and it was a small thing rather than a large thing. I immediately attacked back; again, I can’t remember what I said but I know I said something and said it vehemently. In reply, Paul said, “You’re too defensive, Doug,” to which I responded, “I am not!” I realized with that ironic response that I was indeed too defensive and that I needed to stop being so defensive if I was ever to have happy and fruitful relationships with people.
Decades later, I’m still struggling with this defensiveness to some degree. But when I heard this text read in the PAYG devotion, I realized I could escape it by allowing Jesus to be my defender. My action step here is to remind myself that Jesus is my defender whenever I feel attacked and defensive.
Interestingly enough, my wife recently shared a song with me which teaches me this same thing. I have been listening to this song incessantly ever since December. It is appropriately-enough called “Defender”.
Jesus is my defender. He is my great defender. And His way of defending me is better for me and my enemies and the world than my way ever could be. I will relinquish the drive to defend myself to Him. I will allow Him to defend me rather than defending myself. It truly is “so much better this way”. It is so much better this way in every way.
That’s what I saw on April 6th, 2019.