In Matthew 26:31-35, Jesus told His disciples, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. “We will not deny you!” It must have been painful for Jesus to hear Peter, and then the rest of the disciples all say that they would never abandon Him, since He already knew that they would. It’s not that they were lying, and Jesus knew that, but that they thought they were strong and devoted enough to Him that nothing could move them. Unfortunately, Jesus was correct and they did all abandon Him, for a while. Even Peter, though he thought himself to be stronger than the rest, actually did deny Jesus 3 times before the cock crowed.
This is a big danger that many of us tend to have. I’ve said it myself, I’ve heard friends say it, and from the results of Pastors in the news for detestable things, I’m sure they’ve all said it, also. When we think we’re strongest, that’s when we have the greater chance of falling victim to the enemy. I suppose you could see it like going into battle without your protective gear and just a stick. You think you can take on such an easy opponent, only for him to pull out a light saber and cut off your right hand (a little Star Wars episode V example there: Luke thought he was strong enough to defeat Vader, then he gets his hand chopped off and is forced to retreat with nothing but a lesson well-learned and one less hand).
I’ve also noticed that many strong and highly-skilled boxers are often knocked out because they let their guard down. See, when you let your guard down, your glass jaw (knockout point in the back of your jaw) is exposed. Some didn’t realize they were letting down their guard, while others knew it and either thought they were pulling out some strategy, or that they were winning and had nothing to worry about.
Paul said that when he’s weakest, that’s when Christ is strongest in him. I believe it’s the same also with us, for when we think we’re strong and nothing can bring us down, we let our guards down, allowing the enemy to sucker punch us, or hone in on our glass jaw and knock us out. Some of us don’t realize we’re doing it, some think we’re playing out a strategy, and some of us may actually think our opponent has no chance of winning even if we do let down our guard. But at least when Paul said this, he knew that he was weak, unlike the examples above.
I realize that Jesus’ disciples had to abandon Him, for such was prophesied long ago. But we don’t have to abandon Jesus too, and certainly not in the same way.
Keep your guard up, don’t let it down, always step into the ring with confidence, but neither with pride nor over-confidence. Fight the enemy like you were trained and don’t let your guard down until the final bell rings, or until the enemy’s back in his corner or being carried out on a stretcher.