The Bare Soul - November 18, 2012
An Offensive Defense

II Timothy 1:14 - Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

Some claim World Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey originally stated, "The best defense is a good offense." Others attribute this quote to NFL Coach Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. Regardless who first said it first in these exact words, the idea has been around a long time. The suggestion is to be proactive and not wait for one's opponent to get the upper hand. Instead, one should look for all opportunities to set the tone of engagement by applying force where their foe cannot resist. Boxers know better then to allow a challenger to engage their own strategy. To do so causes the non-aggressor  to take a defensive posture. They can then only fend off their alpha counterpart by defending themselves as well as possible. The prize does not go to the one who defends best, but who offends effectively. The purse or the treasure lies in the wisdom and strength to overcome. Similarly, the prize on the gridiron is protecting the pigskin and carrying it to the end zone. One cannot get there merely defending one's end of the field. There must be a wise, strategic onslaught to score the points necessary to win the day.

Boxers guard their bodies and their faces when fighting in the prize ring. Football players guard the football as a team, yet aggressively seek to carry it into their opponents back field. Even in an offensive position there is a defensive dynamic at work. Wisdom to know when to take a loss on a play rather than give up possession is often crucial. Trainers in boxing and coaches in sports such as football are continually telling their champions how to execute. However, these are meant only to exhort and encourage. They cannot fight the fight nor play the game. They have entrusted others to faithfully fulfill their expectations. Likewise, God will not enter the ring for us nor will He take the field in our stead. However, the Holy Spirit will be there always to encourage and exhort us with His wisdom to offensively defend what has been commended to us.

Thank God that Paul tells us to guard "the treasure" within through the help of the Holy Spirit. Too often, Christians believe they must concentrate more on the promises, or determine to not sin in a certain area. While these are notable exercises, they are pointless if we have not first turned to God through His Holy Spirit to help us. The best we can hope to do in our own power is to defend ourselves by greater effort. However, in order to offend the enemy and make him shrink from his assault is to first surrender to Jesus Christ in all our affections. Paul tells us not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). This is not mind over matter but instead regarding what matters most to our God. When we seek to guard our minds and hearts, then we are merely making a positive thinking construct. In so doing, when we first seek the Lord and ask Him to help us rule our minds with His desires, then He fortifies our hearts with the security of the Holy Spirit. It all comes down to Whom or what we allow to guard our minds. For in so doing, this is the entity which will inevitably guard our hearts. If it is our intellect, we will succumb to the devil and our flesh. It it is humility of mind as found in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:2), then no power or demon from hell will ever be able to break in and spoil the treasure of God.

Treasure is only effectively guarded when there is both strength and wisdom involved. It is not merely enough to defend our position as aforementioned in these sports analogies. However, we must use the strength of our God through our surrender to His wisdom. It is superfluous to believe someone can compete in athletics without the proper instruction or coaching. Similarly, why do so many Christians believe they can guard what God has entrusted them without submitting to God's wisdom? It is a strategy doomed for failure. God will not guard the treasure without our involvement. That means stepping into the prize ring or taking the field to do His will. Once we are equipped with the strength of His might and the wisdom of His counsel, our defense will be an offense that will not be easily overcome by any man or devil. May we all understand how to offensively defend the great treasure given to all who know Christ.

Gracious Father, may You equip us and arm us accordingly to guard what You have entrusted to Your servants. May we reveal Your wisdom in this great offense as we defend Your great treasure within. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,



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