Writer’s Note: One of those posts. This is one of those posts where I have to share what is stuck in my head. I need to put it into words and get it out of my head.
I also believe this is a word for someone else too.
I had just finished my morning prayer when my brain switched to some issues going on in my life. Just as I did that I heard the Lord say, “Stop defending yourself”. I quickly wrote it down on a sticky note and simply stared at it.
It felt sort of familiar to me, but then I heard Him say, “in the natural”.
“Stop defending yourself in the natural.”
A lot of challenges have come this year – yes, it’s only March 2023 – and I’ve been quite frustrated. Some are a carry over from 2022. Others are from long before that, while others are relatively fresh.
God has been walking me through a season of patience. I’m a Type A, do-er person. I see things that need to be done and I’ll get them done. I’ve served in every area of a church, but right now, well, I am not serving. And, I haven’t served since the beginning of 2020, just before the Covid-time of quarantine life.
Some may call it luck or fate that I stopped serving right before all of that happened. I call it the Lord’s timing. He kept me out of the chaos that it was for so many. I don’t know why He did because I know I my Type A personality would have gotten things done. But, I obeyed His word to step aside.
He hasn’t given me permission to serve since.
Again, that is not my nature. It’s not my personality to sit on the sidelines, but God is teaching me something specific in this season. I am not perfect at this season by any means, but I am certainly reading the Bible more; studying, if you will.
That’s foundational for every Christian isn’t it? The Holy Scriptures?
He’s building up my foundation with His word. But, that’s just part of it. As it says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
He’s transforming my mind with His word. Transforming the mind means a transforming of one’s nature.
Last week, I was listening in on a prayer call. The Scripture from Exodus 14:14 was shared. This is the passage where Pharaoh had agreed to let the Israelites go. The Lord led them out, and now they were facing the Red Sea. Pharaoh changed his mind and went after them.
The Israelites were, by all appearances, “stuck”. They saw the Egyptians coming and were in fear because the Red Sea was in front of them. They complained to Moses by saying that he should have left them in Egypt. Moses’ response:
13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”Exodus 14:13-14 (ESV)
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
“Stop defending yourself in the natural.”
Our natural human reaction when faced with adversity is to protect ourselves. When faced with resistance, we naturally react. When others want to point out our failures, we are apt to defend.
It’s human nature. It’s…natural. I thought I had learned this lesson long ago – to be silent unless God directs me to speak – but apparently not.
What does not defending yourself in the natural look like? Is it meekness? Mildness? Acting weak? Shutting your mouth? It’s all of that and none of that, depending on how we view those words.
Being led by the natural, I want to defend and speak up for myself. I want to be treated fairly and rightly – same for my children and grandchildren. I want to be heard and validated. I don’t want my past held against me. I don’t want my work ethic questioned. I don’t want to be judged by for what I look like or how much I don’t fit in.
Defending in the natural will bring about a natural response or rebuttal. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough “natural” responses and rebuttals in my life to know that ain’t always the best way to solve a problem or challenge.
So, what then? Continue to defend myself when faced with a wrong? Or, do I be silent in the natural and take it to the spiritual realm?
Do I be silent in the natural and allow God to do battle on my behalf in the spiritual realm? What we see in the natural is a reflection of what is going on in the spiritual realm. Do I allow God the opportunity to heal others through my natural silence? Do I allow God to work on my behalf behind the scenes, while I pray for those who hold something against me?
I’ve seen Him do all of these things and more before. I stayed silent and watch God make change in others on my behalf. He made a way where there didn’t seem to be a way. He performed what I will call miracles. They were situations that seemed dead and He made them live again.
There’s an old saying, “Silence is golden.” Some say we should speak up when there’s injustice everywhere around us. I say both silence and speaking up are both “golden”, but only when we are led by the Holy Spirit. For when we do it in our own strength, emotion and intellect, we can hinder what God actually wants to do in and through us.
And there it is.
Do I trust God enough to let Him defend me as He sees fit? Perhaps “enough” isn’t the right word here. Maybe the better question is, do I trust God?
The Lord will fight for us. It is part of His very character, His nature.
We have only to be silent…in trust.
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