I hate it when I feel like I need to defend myself. Don’t you? No matter who it is, if there’s been a misunderstanding or judgment error, it’s natural to want to defend yourself, but I still greatly dislike how it feels. Like an ugly boomerang that won’t stop making circles, defense mechanisms can be destructive.
I was thinking about this recently and remembered a passage of scripture that has always intrigued me (especially since it mentions righteousness). In 2 Corinthians 6, the Apostle Paul felt a need to defend himself and those who ministered with him. I wasn’t there, and specifics aren’t given, but we can easily assume by his writings that someone didn’t like him. He said, “We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind” (2 Corinthians 6:3-4).
I’ve been in the ministry almost 20 years now and I promise you there’s always someone who wants to find fault with your ministry. BUT that’s not the point. The goal is to live in such a way that it’s difficult for others to point a finger at you. And this isn’t just for ministers–all Christians need to watch how they live. But no matter how you may try, there will still be times when it feels necessary to defend yourself.
Paul went on to say: “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God…” and then he lists many areas and ways in which he strived to live as a true minister of the gospel. However, the one I find intriguing is found in verse seven: “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” I just like how powerful this sounds.
BY THE WORD OF TRUTH.
BY THE POWER OF GOD.
BY THE ARMOR OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
In other words, God’s got your back when you live for Him and the Truth of His Word. But my favorite translation of this is found in the New Living. It says, “We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.” BOOM! I feel empowered just saying that!
Righteousness is both a position and an action. It’s first your worth before God–the position of right-standing He has given you because of your faith in Jesus. It includes forgiveness of all sin and adoption as a true son or daughter. But then righteousness becomes your daily steps. In other words, how you live out your life in honor of your Father and His Word.
My kids tease me because I really like British television, especially anything depicting kings, kingdoms, royalty, etc. But it reminds me of how God’s kingdom is set up. American democracy (as wonderful as it is) isn’t a good picture of biblical principles. Our God is a King, not a president. And God’s people are subject to their King, unlike a democracy where everyone has a say (and an opinion). And this is why our understanding of righteousness is so important. RIGHTEOUSNESS IS OUR WEAPON AGAINST THE ENEMIES OF GOD.
In the right hand, I attack the armies of darkness with an understanding of whose Kingdom I belong. But I am also ready with righteousness in my left hand to defend God, His Word, and (if necessary) myself, when lying allegations and accusations from the enemy bombard or surround me. “By [speaking] the word of truth, in the power of God, with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand [to attack] and for the left hand [to defend]” (Amplified), I stand firm and ready. And I remind myself that we don’t fight against flesh and blood–only powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).
So although I don’t like having to defend myself, I equip myself with God’s Word (and an understanding of righteousness) and ready myself for battle in the spirit. Righteousness will always be my best defense.