Defensive Living

As I write this we’re in the middle of the football playoffs to determine which two teams will play in the Super Bowl this year. Football offers a great reminder that a winning team must play well both defensively and offensively.

A football team may have the best defense in the league, but unless they can pull things together offensively, they will not score and cannot win. A team cannot win games by merely playing defensively.

The same holds true in our walk with Christ. Many Christians live their lives solely with a defensive strategy. I’ve caught myself doing this. But we cannot win in our walk with Christ by merely living defensively. Defensive living implies either holding the ground we’ve gained, or losing as little ground as possible (which is moving backwards).

Consider too that defensive living is reactive living. As in football, when we are in full defensive mode we are merely reacting to the plays and ploys of our opponents. In defense mode, we are not in control, our opponent is. In defensive living, we wait to act until our adversary makes his offensive move; then we react.

What does defensive or reactive living look like? It’s “merely trying not to sin” when the tempter throws an offensive play (a temptation) at us that we know has licked us in the past. Defensive living is being content with mediocrity. “I’m okay if I don’t lose ground.” Or, “So I back slid a little, everyone does from time to time.” Or, “I think I’m more godly than most.”

As I stated, defensive living is not a winning strategy. And think about it, if we’re not winning, the other team is!

So how do we beef up our offensive strategy as followers of Christ? First, we have to be very deliberate about it. Great offensive plays don’t just happen. We take measures to make sure they occur. We discipline ourselves and prepare ourselves. We go into the fray intending to win (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

Second, instead of treating sin and temptation purely defensively (i.e., waiting for the temptation to tackle us) we go after it. We identify the sin, ungodly habit, or known vulnerability to temptation and we eliminate it from our lives (Romans 6:12). We can tackle sins head-on in a couple different ways.

Fleeing from sin is one way to actively deal with it. In 1 Timothy 6 Paul names some sins, ungodly habits and temptations. Then he urges Timothy to flee from all of them! At times fleeing from sin can be a defensive play. At other times, fleeing is like the quarterback falling back to avoid being sacked so he can throw a winning pass.

Another way to offensively eliminate a sin or practice from our lives is with the aid of Scripture, prayer and a spiritual partner (a team member or comrade in arms). A spiritual partner is like an offensive lineman who blocks our opponent and assists us in moving forward. If we think we can beat sin without a spiritual partner, imagine a quarterback without his linemen—he’ll be sacked every time.

Finally, a key offensive strategy in winning with Christ is to be completely sold out to Him and to run with Him and train with Him daily. Jesus Christ has given us a whole set of exercises that are designed to keep us connected with Him. Read and obey His Word. Pray and converse with Him daily. Serve others and be served by them. Seek the solitude of His presence. Team up with another follower of Christ.

Remember, no one wins playing purely defensively! “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)

 

©2014 Rob Fischer

There are numerous benefits of a healthy being. But can medicines help us? So it’s no wonder that online pharmacies have grown in popularity over the last years. For instance Xylocaine causes loss of feeling in an area of your body. Given before dental work. Furthermore treats emergency heart problems. Sometimes drugstores offer to their customers Levitra. Many young men know about buy kamagra. What is the most essential information you should read about kamagra online? Variant companies describe it as kamagra 100mg oral jelly. Some people who take street drugs like amphetamines find it tight to maintain an erection and turn to erectile disfunction remedies. So it’s vital to learn about the matter. Typically, this may include diabetes, depression, or a venous leak. Causes of sexual dysfunction turn on psychological matters, such as doldrums. Chronic illness, several medicaments, and a condition called Peyronie’s disease can also cause erectile disfunction. Along with their good effects, most medications, nevertheless, have undesirable side effects although commonly not everyone experiences them. Very likely the physician will take into account possible remedy interactions with Levitra, your age and any previous practice you have had with the drug.

Comrades in Arms

Men, here we are again nearing the end of one year and entering a new one. I don’t know about you, but each New Year I try to take stock of my life and where I’m headed. In view of this, which of these statements apply to you?

  • My relationship in Christ seems stale and I want to rekindle my vision for fullness of life in Him.
  • I’m stuck in a sinful or destructive practice and I want to break free.
  • I haven’t been in the Word and praying lately, but I want to solidify these disciplines in my life.
  • My relationship with my wife isn’t what it should be, but I want to love her well.
  • My relationship with my children has deteriorated and I want to rebuild their trust and love.
  • In the New Year I want to renew my focus to courageously follow Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you own one or more of these statements or could add other similar ones. Allow me to share with you what I believe to be the most direct and effective way to live a victorious life in Christ. Whether we are currently struggling not, we all need a comrade in arms.

Most men see themselves as loners. If you find yourself chronically struggling with the same old challenges in your walk with Christ, it’s probably because you’re trying to go it alone. Somewhere along the line we have bought into the deception that we can (should) live the Christian life alone. We think we need to do life and follow Christ on our own and that to team up with a comrade in arms would somehow be a show of weakness—a crutch.

Men, that’s the wrong metaphor! Teaming up with a comrade in arms to follow Christ is no more a crutch than it is for a quarterback to team up with his receiver. We should not attempt alone what Christ meant for us to accomplish in the company of others.

What is a comrades-in-arms partnership? This is a spiritual partnership between two or more men in which they propel each other forward into deeper relationship with Christ. Do you want to move forward in your relationship with Christ? I know of no more effective way to do that than through spiritual partnership. Here are five characteristics of a comrades-in-arms relationship:

Five Characteristics of Spiritual Partnership

  1. Gender-specific. Comrades in arms are men with men and women with women pursuing relationship with Christ. We adhere to this characteristic for the sake of effectiveness and propriety. If you’re married, your wife should be your spiritual partner as well, but men need other men. Look at Jesus’ example with His disciples.
  2. Spend time together in real life. If my comrade in arms only sees me in the context of church or a coffee shop, he won’t see how I interact with my wife and family, or in traffic, or at play. Note how Jesus spent time with His disciples in real life.
  3. Love and care for each other. A comrade-in-arms relationship is mutual and reciprocal. We’ve got each other’s back and we’re there for each other through thick and thin.
  4. Challenge each other boldly from God’s Word. We grant each other permission to ask “tough” questions and we deliberately spur one another on to deeper relationship with Christ. Growth in Christ is not accidental. His call on our lives is still active and relevant: “Follow Me!”
  5. Pray with and for each other. We lead each other into the presence of God through prayer and call on Him to transform us. There is something very powerful when two or more men agree in prayer, calling on the name of Almighty God!

Examples of some “Tough Questions”

  • “What is God doing in your life right now?”
  • “What is God showing you from his Word?”
  • “What one thing in your life is preventing you from enjoying God fully?”
  • “In what ways are you currently leading your wife and family closer to the Lord?”
  • “How well are you loving your wife right now?”
  • “What are your greatest joys/challenges in walking with Jesus right now?”
  • “What’s one thing you’d like to see Christ change in you?”
  • “In what ways is God using you to model Christlikeness to others?”

Let me boldly challenge you with this verse: “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.” 1 Samuel 23:16 Who is your Jonathan? Who is your comrade in arms? Don’t go into the New Year without one!

For more information on initiating a comrades-in-arms relationship read my short book, Comrades in Arms—The Power of Pursuing Christ in the Company of Other Men. To order click here.

©2013 Rob Fischer

There are numerous benefits of a healthy existence. But can medicines help us? So it’s no wonder that online pharmacies have grown in stock over the last years. For instance Xylocaine causes loss of feeling in an area of your body. Given before dental work. Furthermore treats emergency soul problems. Sometimes drugstores offer to theirs customers Levitra. Many young men know about buy kamagra. What is the most vital information you should read about kamagra online? Variant companies describe it as kamagra 100mg oral jelly. Some people who take street drugs like amphetamines find it hard to maintain an erection and turn to erectile disfunction remedies. So it’s substantial to learn about the problem. Typically, this may turn on diabetes, depression, or a venous leak. Causes of sexual disfunction include psychological matters, such as melancholia. Chronic illness, several medicaments, and a state called Peyronie’s disease can also cause erectile dysfunction. Along with them good effects, most medications, nevertheless, have undesirable side effects although commonly not everyone experiences them. Very likely the physician will take into account possible remedy interactions with Levitra, your age and any previous experiment you have had with the drug.

How Jesus Modeled Spiritual Partnership

Spiritual partnerships are gender-specific partnerships focused on propelling each other into deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. The result of our ever-deepening relationship with Christ is our spiritual transformation. We are becoming more like Him in character.

Spiritual partnerships are also mutual and reciprocal. There is no condescension or top-down approach in spiritual partnerships. As spiritual partners (comrades in arms) we recognize that we are both very needy before the Lord. We are humble before each other, transparent with each other, and boldly challenge each other in God’s Word.

We generally view Jesus’ relationship with His disciples as a teacher-disciple or mentor-mentee relationship and the Gospels bear out that this view is accurate. But as with any of our relationships, we may take on a variety of roles. For instance, with my adult sons I am still their father, but I may also serve as a friend, a coach, a mentor, or I may go to them for advice.

I believe that in addition to serving as teacher and mentor to His disciples, Jesus also cultivated and modeled spiritual partnership that was mutual and reciprocal. In Mark 3:14 we read, “He appointed twelve that they might be with him.” At the Last Supper Jesus said, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15) We should not be surprised by the fact that Jesus, wholly God and wholly man, should seek out and enjoy the company of other like-minded men.

We find a powerful example of Jesus’ desire for spiritual fellowship with His disciples in Matthew 26:36-38: “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’”

In this most distressing and troubling time, Jesus sought out His three most trusted disciples to be with Him and keep watch with Him. Why is it then, that when we find ourselves in distress, we crawl off into a corner by ourselves away from the presence and help of those closest to us? When we isolate, we are most vulnerable. Like a lion hunting gazelles, the evil one seeks to separate us from the “herd” in our weakened state and attack.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Who is your spiritual partner, your comrade in arms?

 

©2013 Rob Fischer

 

There are numerous benefits of a healthy existence. But can medicines help us? So it’s no wonder that online pharmacies have grown in popularity over the last years. For instance Xylocaine causes loss of feeling in an area of your body. Given before dental work. Furthermore treats emergency heart problems. Sometimes drugstores offer to theirs customers Levitra. Many young men know about buy kamagra. What is the most essential info you must read about kamagra online? Variant companies describe it as kamagra 100mg oral jelly. Some folk who take street drugs like amphetamines find it hard to maintain an erection and turn to erectile dysfunction remedies. So it’s substantial to learn about the matter. Typically, this may switch on diabetes, doldrums, or a venous leak. Causes of sexual malfunction turn on psychological matters, such as depression. Chronic illness, several medicaments, and a status called Peyronie’s disease can also cause erectile disfunction. Along with them good effects, most medications, nevertheless, have objectionable side effects although commonly not everyone experiences them. Very likely the physician will take into account possible remedy interactions with Levitra, your age and any previous experience you have had with the drug.