The Sword & Shield: A 5-Day Devotional

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


Professional team sports are a mainstay in our culture’s entertainment. There’s a strong likelihood that you follow at least one sport, even in the offseason. Whether eleven on the football field, nine on the baseball diamond, five on the court, or even the one NASCAR driver with the pit crew looking on, offense and defense are equally crucial aspects in any sport. A team can have an amazing offense, but if there is a weak defense, they can still lose. And vice versa. We all know that 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—for offense and defense. Here are three examples:

In personal purity:

Offense—Psalm 51:10: Create in me a pure heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Defense—Psalm 119:37, 39: Turn my eyes from worthless thingsHelp me abandon my shameful ways.

“Create” and “renew” are proactive words of offense, while “turn my eyes” and “help me abandon” are phrases of defense. These prayers ask God, paraphrasing, “help me begin these activities, while helping me stop these others.” Change always requires starting new things while simultaneously stopping or ending old things. God will provide His “new” to replace the “old” we give up. Offense leads us into good and defense helps us stay away from evil.

In your relationships:

Offense—Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. 

Defense—Proverbs 3:27: Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.

Spiritual sharpening is offense, while being careful to not withhold good is defense.

In spiritual growth:

Offense—Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God!

Defense—Ephesians 4:31: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 

As your defense “gets rid of,” your offense can “be still and know.”

This offense/defense strategy is essentially a Bible study method that can help you place spiritual principles into your life. Anywhere you have temptations or struggles and want to engage new patterns of behavior, find offensive and defensive Scriptures to support you.

Find and write down a favorite verse that best describes your spiritual offense for where you are in your life right now.