“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, ‘My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.’”
- Acts 23:1 NIV
When we as human beings feel put on the defensive, we come back with many different but typical phrases like…
You would have done the same thing!
Do you think you could have done any better?
Well you never...and you always...(fill in the blank).
Basically, we are self-protective to a fault. Someone once said that when we defend ourselves, we are using a second-string player for a first-string player’s job. That’s why God is portrayed in the Old Testament as our Defender. He is a first-string player and in today’s passage, we see that Paul knew well. That is why he appealed to his good conscience before God, called his accusers “brothers,” and even apologizes after he was struck in the mouth.
Author Neil Anderson says that it is never appropriate for a spiritually mature person to be defensive. Never. If you are right, you have nothing to defend, and if you are wrong, you have no defense! Defensiveness is never an appropriate response. Paul definitely modeled that in today’s reading.
So what are you feeling insecure or defensive about today? Anyone blaming you for anything? Is there anything your conscience or God’s Spirit is leading you to apologize for? As we represent Jesus to the world, lets rid ourselves of defensiveness, knowing God is our defender, and let’s walk with Paul bravely through this day, starting with prayer.
[Upward] What did this passage reveal to you about God? Praise him for being that God.
[Inward] What did this passage bring up in you? Be honest with God about your questions and shortcomings, your fears and desires.
[Outward] What does this passage call me to in relationship to others in my world? Ask God to help you take your place in the new chapter of the Book of Acts that is being written in your life today.