On the Defense

In basketball, players have to be skilled on offense (scoring points) as well as defense (preventing the other team from scoring points). It’s a constant push going between the two, depending on who has possession of the ball. While we are knee-deep in March Madness, most of these collegiate athletes have been taught three fundamental keys to defense that I think we can learn from as we continue to study Stephen. But first, let’s look at Acts 7:2-5 (NIV):

To this he replied, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. “Leave your country and your people,” God said, “and go to the land I will show you.” So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.

Yesterday we found the Sanhedrin pushing Stephen into a corner and asking, “What’s your defense?” Stephen started at the beginning. Being filled with the Holy Spirit and leaning fully on the Lord, he was able to respond clearly and succinctly. Stephen began his defense talking about the calling of Abraham. Now, the leaders of the church would have fully known everything about Abraham, but the point was to highlight the promise of the Lord. The descendants of Abraham would own the land of Canaan.

Now… here are the keys for a skillful defense: 

1 – Move on the pass: coaches will teach players they can defend the opposition by “moving on the pass.” Don’t wait for your teammate to catch the pass you throw, but get moving as soon as it leaves your fingertips. For us, we need to be prepared to be in position as quickly as possible to be used in the way God designs.

2 – Knees bent: when players are conditioned to always be in an athletic stance with their knees bent, they are able to gain speed and quickly move to their defensive positions simply by being ready. For us, being prayed up on bent knees will keep our stance!

3 – Preparation: players have to know who they are guarding and how they play. Understanding what they’re up against is key. We too need to understand who we’re up against and what our best play is for that opponent. 

How are you moving, bending, and preparing today?

By Carrie Peterson

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