I have many flaws, not the least of which is self-protectiveness. It manifests in a militant dedication to wearing seat belts, following rules, and always being aware of my nearest emergency exit. These aren't really the things that get me in trouble though. It's the compulsion to defend myself when I've been criticized, make excuses when I've failed at something, or explain myself when I've been misunderstood.
It's my right to defend myself. But Jesus is not that interested in my rights. In fact, He gave up a lot of His own rights when He left the glory of heaven and came to earth to be our Redeemer. My rights just aren't that important. And as a Christian I joyfully offer them to my Lord because of what He's done for me. But it's still hard for me to keep my mouth shut in certain situations. I fail a lot of the time.
God has shown me that this whole thing is a deeply rooted pride issue. And you know, I don't really want to be a prideful person. God has been allowing some thorns and thistles to come my way and test me in this area. I'm not gonna lie - it's been HARD. I've wanted to state my case loudly. And forcefully. And publicly. My mom, knowing I needed some encouragement, shared something that she had heard recently: Shall I defend the flesh or be a demonstration of the Spirit? Isn't that good? She had to repeat it twice so I could drink it down. What I love about the Lord is that when He corrects you it's sharp like a double-edged sword that penetrates, even dividing the bone and marrow. But in the same pill you get peace and the grace to change.