The word ‘defiant’ has negative connotations.
However, I learned today that defiance can be a good thing…when it is aimed at the enemy of our souls as he tries to bury us beneath an avalanche of fear and dread when painful circumstances hit our lives like a firestorm.
The book of Philippians is commonly known as “the book of joy.” The apostle Paul did not write this book during a happy time in his life. He wrote it when he was in a first century prison.
Today’s prisons make the one Paul inhabited look like a country club. Forget electricity, heat, air-conditioning, television, lights, windows, a bed, blanket and a pillow.
This is what Paul experienced: “Roman imprisonment was preceded by being stripped naked then flogged—a humiliating, painful, and bloody ordeal. The bleeding wounds went untreated as prisoners sat in painful leg or wrist chains. Mutilated, blood-stained clothing was not replaced, even in the cold of winter. Most cells were dark, especially the inner cells of a prison, like the one Paul and Silas inhabited in Philippi. Unbearable cold, lack of water, cramped quarters and sickening stench from few toilets made sleeping difficult and waking hours miserable. Because of the miserable conditions, many prisoners begged for a speedy death. Others simply committed suicide.” (–reference: preachingtoday.com).
Picture being in those conditions and imagine writing these words: “Rejoice in the Lord always (delight, gladden yourselves in Him). Again I say rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4).
The words “joy” or “rejoice” are used 16 times in this short book of the Bible, written under the worst of human conditions! Amazing!
And what I learned today about that absolutely thrilled and inspired me. According to the Dictionary of New Testament Theology, “In Philippians, joy is thus a continuous,’ defiant nevertheless’.”
A continuous, defiant NEVERTHELESS.
Continuous: never ceasing, never stopping, never giving up. No matter what. Uninterrupted.
Defiant: boldly resistant, challenging, gutsy, aggressive, daring.
Nevertheless: in spite of.
Think about this: the very same Person who inspired Paul to write those words and to overflow with JOY in the midst of hell on earth is the risen Jesus. And if you believe in Him and are one of His own, He is with you to give you the very same supernatural invincible, unconquerable, and undefeatable joy and strength that Paul had.
Yes, even in the very midst of your struggle.
Be defiant in the face of the enemy. Be bold in faith. Resist his plans for you, which are to cower in fear and allow depression to settle on your soul like a blanket. Challenge what you see and feel and aggressively fight back by the power and truth of God’s Word. Be gutsy, not wimpy. In spite of your circumstance, choose His joy!
Dare to believe your God!
He is in FULL control and He can ONLY do good to you!
So, you can say with all Jesus-saturated confidence, “I will NOT let this beat me. I will make the choice to praise Him all day, every day. Yes, Jesus has allowed this into my life but I will trust Him. What the enemy means for evil, He intends for good. I will not deny that I am in a rough season. I will face it head on in the strength and power of His Name. For as long as I need to walk this difficult path, my spirit will be marked with a blazing NEVERTHELESS for all of earth and heaven to see. Jesus has never known defeat and I will not either as long as I am clinging to Him. He always leads me in triumph! ”
This is the same attitude that allowed Paul to write, “…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14)
Paul lived the continuous, defiant, nevertheless while inside a filthy prison cell and that is why He could boldly press on.
You can too.