[Paul continued his defense against the false accusations of the Jewish leaders before the governor, Felix, with these words:] "After several years away, I returned to Jerusalem with money to aid my people and to offer sacrifices to God. My accusers saw me in the Temple as I was completing a purification ceremony. There was no crowd around me and no rioting. But some Jews from the province of Asia were there — and they ought to be here to bring charges if they have anything against me! Ask these men here what crime the Jewish high council found me guilty of, except for the one time I shouted out, 'I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!'"
— Acts 24:17-21 NLT
Paul had just finished telling Felix, "I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people" (Acts 24:16). He wanted Felix to see that his motives were not only pure; they were also genuine, honorable, and compassionate. He didn't have to exaggerate and "spin" his message. He simply told the truth! He was not guilty of a crime. As he gave his defense, he also planted seeds of the Good News of Jesus by talking about the resurrection. Under severe attack from powerful religious opponents, Paul remembered that his goal wasn't just to win his legal case, but also to win hearts to Jesus. No matter what kind of attack we face, we must remember we want to open people's hearts to Jesus!
O Father, help my first defense against unfair and unwarranted attack to be a commitment to display your grace, mercy, strength, and fairness as I deal with my accusers. I do not want to be fearful or intimidated, but clear in my convictions, firm in my faith, and committed to your mercy and deliverance as I deal with others, especially my critics and those who wish to do me harm. I need wisdom and strength from the Holy Spirit, so please, Lord Jesus, have the Spirit continue to pour your love into my heart. Amen.