By Robert Noland
This time of year puts a focus on a major obsession we in America—football. Whether you’re “ready for some football” or not, it is ever-present until well into January. Across the nation, team sports are a mainstay in our culture’s entertainment.
Most everyone realizes offense and defense are equally crucial aspects of the game. A team can have an amazing offense, but a weak defense and lose. And vice versa. We all know consistent winners score points on offense and stop points on defense.
God, through His Word, has given us thousands of life principles to live by—both for offense and defense. Here are some examples.
In the area of personal purity:
- Offense—Psalm 51:10 “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
- Defense—Psalm 119:37 “Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in your ways.”
Do you see how asking God to create a clean heart and renew your spirit is an offensive action? Taking charge and moving down the field toward the opposition.
Do you see how turning your eyes away from worthless things is a defensive maneuver to avoid trouble?
In our relationships:
- Offense—Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.”
- Defense—Ephesians 4:29a “No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need.”
In our worship:
- Offense—Psalm 95:6 “Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”
- Defense—Hebrews 10:25a “Not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other.”
In our spiritual growth:
- Offense—Psalm 46:10a “Stop your fighting, and know that I am God.”
- Defense—Ephesians 5:15–16 “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”
In your small group, try introducing this concept to your members. If you lead a men’s group or host a TV football night, incorporating this into your halftime break could be powerful.
You can accomplish two things. First, you’ll be encouraging and engaging them in Scripture. Second, you’ll be teaching them a great Bible study method to help them grow spiritually.
Here’s an idea for an activity: Ask your group members to share their favorite Bible verses, then after they each either quote or read theirs, discuss whether they are offensive or defensive. Not every verse falls into one of these categories, but it is amazing how many do.
Isaiah 55:11 says, “So my word that comes from my mouth will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”
One of the greatest spiritual weapons we can place into the hands of our small group members is the incredible power of Scripture—both offensively to grow in the faith and defensively to defeat temptation and sin.
ROBERT NOLAND, a freelance writer in Franklin, Tennessee, has been in ministry for more than 30 years.