The other night I took a self defense class for the very first time. As a Chicago bound gal, I felt it might not be a bad idea to learn a few of the basics. However, to my surprise, the class taught me more than just how to defend myself in the world, but also how to defend myself in spiritual battles. The instructor said something that really fell deeply on my heart; he said this:
“Is Distance your Defense?”
He went on to explain that when we just keep backing up from the problems we face, they are only going to catch up with us in the end. All distance does is delay the inevitable. Our best and safest option is to step to the side and start facing our problems head on.
I really felt convicted as this instructor spoke to us, because I just kept thinking how often do I just keep backing up from my problems in my own life. I see them arise and keep telling myself “no problem, I just need a little time to figure this out all by myself. I got this, I can get through this without any help.” But, this is not how God wants us to fight our battles.
2 Chronicles 20:15
“This is what the Lord says, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’”
The story told in 2 Chronicles 20 is a really important one. It tells the story of a man named Jehoshaphat who was about to go to battle against a huge group of Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites. What inspires me most about Jehoshaphat is that he knew all of the odds were against him in this battle but before he did anything his first response was to seek refuge and counsel in the Lord.
2 Chronicles 20:3
“Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord.”
How many times am I afraid and do I just start backing up using distance to defend myself. How many times do I avoid seeking the Lord for help when battles arise because I want to figure things out on my own? How many times have I tried and failed to defend myself without the Lord? I need to be more like Jehoshaphat; we all need to be more like Jehoshaphat: recognizing that the battles we face are not ours to fight but God’s, believing that the battle is already won through our savior Jesus Christ, and trusting God right away when troubles drift into our lives.
Distance from God is only going to prolong our inevitable defeat before we hand our problems over to God. Distance does nothing but elongate our struggle, Jesus closed the gap so that we may receive help from the Lord, yet we don’t ask for it. So let’s start now. Let’s train our hearts to depend on God’s help and guidance. Let’s turn immediately to God when we see the red flags in our lives like Jehoshaphat did.
Much like self defense, we must step to the side and let God take over the fight; not backing away from our problems but going to them knowing and trusting that it is not our battle to fight.