I have always been a protector. As a young boy, my daydreams were fueled by TV shows like Roy Rogers, Sky King, and Superman. Vicariously, I became the hero in each show. This spilled over into real life. One of my earliest fights took place in the second grade while defending my Native American friend from a group of kids who were taunting him with racist remarks most likely learned at home and then spewed out on the schoolyard. While I wanted to be one of the popular kids at school, my assignment as a protector always seemed to get in the way.
In retrospect, it was not surprising that at age 22, I became a cop. It was never a conscious plan to enter law enforcement. It just happened one day while looking for work. Police work was strangely familiar even on the first day. I belonged there. After 9 years in the job, God came knocking with another assignment to protect. I became a pastor. That was 36 years ago. I have since transitioned from pastoring a local church and now spend my days writing, mentoring and speaking.
I was once interviewed regarding my transition from policing to pastoring. The interviewer must have thought I would exclaim some stark difference. My response took the interviewer off guard when I said, “There are many similarities. I am still protecting people, but this time it is from judgment and loveless responses to life.”
Spiritual protection can be done in many ways. By a prayer that confronts an unseen spiritual bully. By stepping between the guilty and their accusers or by speaking life into a hopeless heart. It also involves a healthy form of self-protection that guards your heart against hidden sin and pride.
As followers of Jesus, we will do as He did when He stood between a guilty woman and her accusers writing a cryptic message in the dirt or when a man named Peter needed protection from his own sense of worthlessness and was invited to a seashore breakfast of restoration. Protectors are on assignment to get in the way of the works of hell and interfere with dark outcomes. We get between lies and their potential victim and give the victim a chance to catch their spiritual breath to hear words of hope that will displace condemnation and begin the process of restoration. That is the work of a protector. It is an honorable calling.