The Power of the Pause: Avoiding the Trap of Self-Defense

Published on May 17, 2024
Category: Behold!

Read: Mark 15:1-25

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

Mark 15:5

Jesus’ silence in the face of false accusations and injustice reveals His remarkable self-control.

In Mark 15:5, we witness a powerful moment during Jesus’ trial before Pilate. Despite false accusations and the opportunity to defend Himself, Jesus chose silence, leaving Pilate amazed. This act of self-control teaches us valuable lessons about avoiding the trap of self-defense. In a world where defending ourselves is often seen as necessary, Jesus’ example challenges us to embrace the power of the pause and trust in God’s sovereignty.

When faced with criticism or unjust accusations, our instinct is often to defend ourselves. We want to protect our reputation, prove our worth, or justify our actions. However, the trap of self-defense can lead us down a path of insecurity, pride, and a reliance on others’ opinions for our self-worth.

Jesus had every opportunity to refute the accusations against Him, yet He chose silence. In His self-control, He displayed determination to fulfill His mission and trust God’s plan. His silence was not a sign of weakness but a powerful act of surrender and reliance on the Father.

Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and an essential attribute for believers. It empowers us to respond with wisdom, restraint, and humility in challenging situations. Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can cultivate self-control and break free from the need for self-defense.

By exercising self-control and avoiding the trap of self-defense, we demonstrate our trust in God’s sovereignty. We acknowledge that He is our ultimate defender and vindicator. Instead of relying on our efforts, we surrender to His plan, allowing Him to fight our battles and work on our behalf.

In times of conflict or criticism, we can choose to pause and seek God’s wisdom before responding. The power of the pause enables us to align our words and actions with God’s truth, rather than being driven by impulsive reactions. It creates space for the Holy Spirit to guide us and helps us avoid unnecessary conflict.

Ultimately, our worth and identity are found in Christ. When we anchor ourselves in Him, we are not easily swayed by others’ opinions or the need for self-defense. We can rest in the assurance that our value is secure in Him, freeing us from the pressure to defend ourselves.

In a world that encourages self-defense and self-justification, Jesus’ example of self-control challenges us to embrace the power of the pause and trust in God’s sovereignty. By cultivating self-control through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we break free from the trap of self-defense and find our worth in Christ alone. As we surrender to His plan and respond with wisdom and humility, we experience true freedom and allow God to fight our battles. May we learn from Jesus’ example and choose self-control over self-defense in every area of our lives.

What fears or insecurities drive my need to defend myself? How can I surrender those fears to God and trust in His sovereignty? Am I relying on others’ opinions or validation for my self-worth? How can I shift my focus to finding my identity in Christ alone? How can I incorporate the power of the pause into my daily life, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my responses and actions?


Lord, help me overcome my need to be validated by others and increasingly pause to focus on finding my identity in You alone, Amen.

Scripture Writing: Proverbs 25:28

For more daily devotions like this – At the Potter’s Wheel (Kindle)


Preethi Alice Jacob

Preethi Jacob is the author of the yearlong devotional At the Potter’s Wheel, Day by Day. Her journey includes teaching a Bible Study Fellowship class, teaching and leading the Sunday School ministry in her church, leading Bible studies, besides counselling young women. She serves on the Global Mission Team of the United Bible Societies and lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and two young adult children.

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

  1. Nischal Sukumaran

    Intriguing comparison of self control with self defence. Knowing your identity in Christ is the foundation.

    • Preethi Alice Jacob

      Yeah isn’t it true that the more rooted we are in our identity in Christ, the less inclined we are to defend ourselves…

      May we all increasingly accept and enjoy our identity in Christ.


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