Morning comes and Chris is tired. He spent a restless night battling the accusations of people who disagree with him. His character has been questioned. His actions are constantly scrutinized. His leadership is eroding and he feels angry. So, he contemplates how he should defend himself. Rather than talk to God about His pain, Chris reviews the weaknesses of his detractors and how he can prove them wrong. No longer can he minister effectively for his motives are based on a personal agenda.
Matthew 27:12-14--And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer.Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how much they are testifying against You?” But He didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
There are two kinds of Christians—those who dig in their heels and those who take their shoes off. When confronted with criticism of any sort, most of us become defensive. We say it is imperative that truth not be battered, but in reality it is our own pride we often defend. We love ourselves and cannot bear the thought of others thinking less of us for any reason. We erect walls and zealously defend our actions, words, or motives—even attacking our accusers to expose their errors.
When challenged by religious leaders who trumpeted false accusations against Him, Jesus remained silent. He took his shoes off. In essence, He let evil men have their way with Him. The One Who was truth rather than destroy His accusers relied upon His Father. Watchman Nee wrote in Spiritual Authority:
"No one on earth could ever be more authoritative than Christ, yet He never defended Himself. Authority and self-defense are incompatible. The one against whom you defend yourself becomes your judge. He rises higher than you when you begin to answer his criticism . . . Whenever one tries to justify himself, he loses authority."
Friends, if our battle is always to be right, we are fighting the wrong war. Our charge is to be righteous. We need not fear what people say; we need to fear God. He is our Defender! Nothing can overcome His authority. Therefore, our confidence is sustained despite suffering. Our charge to follow Jesus is maintained by humility. It does not matter if we die—truth always rises from the tomb. What matters is that we honor God by giving Him our heart knowing full well the world considers us fools.
When we have to bolster up our position by reasons and arguments it is a sure sign we are on a rotten foundation, and behind our plausible talk we are at our wits’ end working to secure a right position.—Oswald Chambers in Notes on Jeremiah
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)