I receive daily thoughts from my friend Mack Tomlinson. Mack is a pastor in Denton, TX. This morning, he gave some thoughts on defensiveness, and it struck and stuck me hard. To be honest, I am a very defensive person. I continually war against this sin because I continually struggle with pride. This sin needs to be continually mortified in my members, if I am to become all that God desires for me to be. In the words of John Owen, "Be killing sin, or it will be killing you." Here are Mack's insights on defensiveness:
One of the dictionary definitions for a barometer is that it is 'an indicator'. So any time we sense defensiveness in ourselves or in others, it is a barometer indicating pride or immaturity.
You cannot become defensive if you are going to exhibit humility and Christlikeness.
You cannot become defensive if we are going to be teachable and taught by the Lord.
You cannot be defensive if pastors, elders, and other believers are to have their proper place in our spiritual growth.
An honest and valid question-- Am I a defensive person?
If we get defensive when others point something out in our lives, then we are still immature to some extent.
Defensiveness is rooted in pride and prejudice.
Not being willing to be corrected is defensivness rooted in pride.
Racism or Reverse-racism is defensiveness, rooted in holding on to racism because you don't want to let it go as a defense mechanism.
Defensiveness rears its ugly head whenever anyone touches a nerve in my soul, possibly exposing that I could be wrong about something.
Defensiveness is that feeling I get when anyone challenges me on something, possibly exposing that I have blind spots they see that I don't see.
Defensiveness shows itself in touchiness when anyone disagrees with me in any way.
If I am defensive, pride is raising its head in me.
If I am defensive, I still think I know better than anyone who disagrees with me.
If I am defensive, I still am, to some real degree, unteachable.
If I am defensive, I am revealing an inner attitude that I could not be wrong.
If I am defensive when another brother or sister in Christ says something I don't agree with, I am showing that I am still trying to live like an island, separating myself from the body, asserting my carnal independence from the body, and thus from the Head as well.
Defensiveness is so ingrained in us, it's almost like breathing--we exhibit it even when we don't know it if we get challenged, corrected, or rebuked; it is ugly, immaturity in action, and pride holding forth its inglorious presence.
When I am defensive, I am far from being like the Lord Jesus right then. May God save me from this wicked and ongoing evil. Jesus was never defensive one time in his life, not even once. And He is calling me to put it off, die to self daily, and become defenseless, with all my defense being in Him alone.
- Mack Tomlinson