How to Surrender when you want to Defend.
I don’t know about you, but something deep inside me cheers victoriously when Jesus rises up against the Sadducees and Pharisees. I want to shout “Amen!” through a great big bullhorn while He admonishes that brood. Maybe that’s a wrong attitude. But dealing with bullies is exhausting. And hearing the Lion of Judah’s roar is empowering!
And while I’m being honest, I also would have loved to draw my sword alongside Simon Peter at the Garden of Gethsemane. “You’re not taking our Lord!” But just then … I feel Jesus take my arm, and whisper the same words he gave Peter – “return your sword to its place” (Matthew 26:52).
Wait – what?
I wonder if Peter stood there as dumbfounded as I would have been. Jesus told them to stay alert and keep watch for the approaching enemy. But when the enemy arrived, Jesus told Peter to stand down.
Why does Jesus seem to contradict himself?
At one moment Jesus is the roaring Lion of Judah, tossing tables and readying the armies of heaven. But when evil came to chain Him to death’s door, the Lamb surrendered.
No – thinking of Jesus as a sacrificial lamb isn’t the cross I want to bear. I want to rise up! How dare they accuse my King! How dare they rip the flesh from his bones! I want to cry out, “Stand up, Jesus! Defend yourself!” Oh how I wish He would have defended himself!
And there, my sweet friends, is the problem.
Sometimes when we defend our flesh, we fail to carry out God’s will.
Jesus never came to defend his life. He came to carry out His Father’s will. In His obedient silence, Heaven’s power roared!
“Not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Laying aside my will in moments of adversity is not easy for me.
I have a quick temper. I don’t like being wrongly accused. I have a strong desire for truth and justice. The enemy knows it, too. And in my weakest hour, he came prowling.
My husband and I had been married only six months when left for war. Those were devastating, fearful days. To make it worse, people I considered friends and co-workers used every moment to voice their outrage about the war – and our military members. They didn’t whisper, either. No – they stood right in front of my desk in their circles of dissent – flogging my broken heart with every angry word.
For ten excruciating months, I endured the fear of war – and the torment of hate. Everything inside me wanted to rise up and roar! I wanted to grab my sword and let my own angry words take revenge! But Jesus whispered to my heart, “Your sword is not one of vengeance, but is the Word of God.”
“In your anger, do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)
Holding my tongue was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever made.
I could have satisfied the desires of my flesh. It would have felt wonderful — for a time. Guilt and remorse would have quickly replaced the momentary pleasure.
Instead, I chose to surrender when what I wanted to do was defend.
Yes, the honest truth is it was more desirable to consider vengeance rather than surrendering to God’s will.At times its easier to consider vengeance rather that surrendering to God's will. #fiercelyHis… Click To Tweet
Sometimes it’s good to stand up against evil. My husband and I know that truth all too well. But other times, God’s will is for us to remain silent. The Holy Spirit helps us to discern God’s will. Sometimes God's will is for us to remain silent. #fiercelyHis @rldevotions Click To Tweet
“There is a time to speak, and a time to be silent.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
Anger itself is not a sin.
Sin happens when we use our anger against the will of God. Was I going to allow the enemy to stir vengeance in my heart – or allow the Holy Spirit to create peace within me?
Being slow to anger helps us listen more closely to the heart of God, rather than the desires of our flesh.
Our lives are a testimony to the power of God. The more the enemy can stir anger and vengeance in our hearts, the less likely we will show the love of God.
And the world so desperately needs the love of God!
Interestingly, it wasn’t the roaring Lion of Judah that turned the heart of the Roman centurion. It was the Lamb of God! There was nothing weak about Jesus surrendering his life on that cross. Quite the contrary.
The unfathomable love and forgiveness of Jesus was mightier than the centurion’s sword.
I’d like to think that maybe my silence still rings in the ears of those who hurt and mocked my husband and me. But they are in God’s hands. My heart can look back with peace. The enemy did not win the war. I forgave my enemies, my husband returned safely,
and a month later we discovered God had blessed us with a child.
Now, when I think of the Lamb of God, I see His mighty power and strength! It’s a cross I will bear gladly and thankfully.
Because the Lamb hung on the cross that day, the Lion will return victorious!
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
RebeccaLynn is a wife, mother of two, and a passionate follower of Jesus. Her writing is focused on helping others develop a deeper relationship with Christ. She has worked in prison ministry and comes from a long ancestry of writers and ministers. Her message is that a devoted heart for Christ results in a wonderfully transformed life! When she isn’t writing, Rebecca enjoys spending time in the warm Arizona sun, going on hikes with her husband, and appreciating each moment of this beautiful life!
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