There’s a saying in sports that “Defense wins championships.”
Earlier this year, our friend and NFL football player Nick Roach discussed this notion. Over a Q&A time one day, he explained that in football, the idea that defense wins championships is a complete myth. That floored me. Nick is a decorated linebacker, whose job is to do everything in his power to help his teammates prevent the offense on the other team from advancing the ball and scoring, and he was de-bunking an idea I’d heard my whole life.
Yet consider his position. He played defense on a winning team, whose “defense-minded” coach had just been fired for not making the playoffs again. (And a few weeks later, Nick would be traded half-way across the country to another NFL team.) In fact, Nick mentioned that the year the Bears’ arch rival, the Packers, won the Super Bowl, their defense was ranked 18th in the league for rushing defense.
BUT … (as a Bears fan, it pains me to say this!) … what did the Packers have that year? A top-notch quarterback, combined with a high-scoring offense. Offensive firepower, Nick was saying, is really what wins championships.
And the same is true in our spiritual lives.
This year I’ve had the privilege of leading an Online Bible Study group through Proverbs 31 Ministries. We’re currently studying Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace in Your Chaotic World, where author Tracie Miles talks about what it takes to deal with stress from God’s perspective. In Chapter 9, she discusses the weapons we have at our disposal in dealing with spiritual battles — places where only a God-sized, spiritual solution can solve the battles we face.
What I find remarkable in the discussion of spiritual vitamins, coupled with what we know from Ephesians 6:10-20, is this: God’s word is one of the few offensive weapons at our disposal, and the only one mentioned in that passage (see Eph. 6:17). Yes, we absolutely can and should use the other weapons in our arsenal. And we’ll do some awfully great things for God as a result. But, in order to produce a championship spiritual life, we’ve got to rely on offense, not just defense. We’ve got to firmly rely on God’s word. And the only way to rely on God’s word is by knowing what God’s word actually says.
Sounds simple enough, right? Yet in my role in leading our women’s ministry at church, I am amazed at the volume of women who wish they were reading the Bible far more consistently. But to be honest, for years I thought I was the only one who wrestled with making that a major priority in my life. However, a few years ago, I began a new accountability measure for myself as I go through the Bible each year. The secret? I simply don’t check Facebook or e-mail until I read my bible in the morning. (I’m not legalistic about it, so occasionally that will happen if I have an early morning meeting, for example. But in general, I try to set my priorities!)
The result? God has given me keen insights into dealing with some pretty hefty problems. Things like cancer, unemployment, my sisters’ marriages blowing up, and dealing with the sudden death of my mom-in-law. I’ve also been given godly wisdom in counseling others facing prodigal children, divorce, abuse, addictions and bankruptcy. I even had one professional counselor remark to me that “if people would just read their bibles and follow what it says, I’d be out of a job.” God’s word is that powerful!
Now I realize some here reading aren’t ready to read the whole bible in a year. And that’s perfectly okay. A Proverbs 31 devo, or a Proverb per day (one for each day of the month!) might be the best place for you to start.
However, far too many of us hide behind some kind of an excuse that there’s just not enough time. A decade ago, I said it myself. I’ve got a newborn. I’m already in a bible study and there’s “lots” of homework to do. I barely have time to go to the bathroom alone … now I’m supposed to add 15-20 minutes into my hectic day for that??
The reality is, however, that you & I wouldn’t have time for anything if it weren’t for God Almighty. So … can you carve out some time today on the path toward gaining offensive firepower in your spiritual life? Indeed you can. The real question is, will you? I’m praying that you will!
Because what happens as we begin to learn, understand, and apply God’s word? As we add offensive power to the ‘game’ of life?