National Geographic Magazine had a photograph of the fossil remains of two saber-toothed tigers locked in combat. The caption for the picture said, “One has bitten deep into the leg bone of the other in a thrust that trapped both of them in a common fate. The cause of death of the two cats is as clear as the cause of the extinction. They could not survive because they were too busy fighting each other.”

It takes two to have a fight, doesn’t it? Conflict always develops when we tell ourselves, I’m not going to let anybody run over me—I’m going to get even. This attitude often creates more conflicts than it prevents—at home, church, and the workplace.

If we follow Christ’s principles, we’ll not only avoid many conflicts, but also no one will get the best of us. You may ask, “Won’t more people try to take advantage of me if I follow Christ’s example?” They may try, but they can’t succeed. When we’re in Christ, we don’t have to fight our enemies or repay them for the wrong they’ve done. God will fight our battles for us. This doesn’t mean Christians should be doormats who let people walk all over them. Instead, we can stand and know God will defend us.

Does it seem like people are out to get you at work? Maybe your boss is pushing you harder than ever because you took an unpopular stand on an ethical issue. Or how about at church? Do you feel like your work is unappreciated while others in more visible positions get all the praise? Don’t lash out in anger and frustration about your situation. The best offense is a good defense. Rather than fighting the circumstances and people God has put in your life, trust Him to defend you from harm.

To hold to God is to rely on the fact that God is there for me, and to live in this certainty. — Karl Barth

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder