Face Guarding


April 3, 2013 by Isaac Hovet

Our physical vision is spectacular. I am not going to get scientific, but the eye taking in light and our brain interpreting that light and creating an image we see is nothing short of astounding.

My oldest daughter played basketball this winter. As a fifth grader playing for the first time she had a steep learning curve. Basketball is a game that requires many competencies. Learning to use a pivot foot, rebound, box out, dribble, pass, shoot, not travel, not foul, etc takes time and effort. My daughter has a strong competitive streak that drove her to increasing aggression as the season went on.

At the end of the year she was named her team’s “best defender.”

She became the player her head coach would assign to the opposing team’s best player. Her effort to be a strong defender included being called for more fouls than any of her teammates and discovering good (move your feet) and bad strategies on defense.

A few games into the season I observed my daughter keeping her wildly waving hands in the face of her opponent. When they had the ball and when they didn’t have the ball.

I cringed, knowing that this was likely going to lead to increased agitation from the other player. I realized that, even though basketball has been my game of choice, I didn’t know the rules for this strategy known as face guarding.

So I looked it up.

“A technical foul is a player non-contact foul of a behavioural nature including, but not limited to … Baiting an opponent or obstructing his vision by waving his hands near his eyes.”

My daughter, just weeks into her basketball career had discovered a technique that, when employed, gave her such an unfair advantage that the rule book stipulates the penalty to be a technical foul.

Wow. That says something about our vision. Our vision is critical. As the lead pastor of a church, my sight, figuratively, is so important. And, knowing that the enemy employs every advantage possible while on the defensive, I am learning what he wants to mess with: my eyes of faith.

In the weeks leading up to Easter, my vision was significantly obstructed. In order to reach out and serve our community, we had several projects going. I felt like nothing was coming together. Honestly, I was becoming agitated. Even things that are usually a joy and relative ease for me were arduous and trialsome. In retrospect, things were coming together. The irritation I was experiencing was founded in my fear that somehow we would be thwarted in our efforts to tell others about Jesus.

I let the enemy get away with one of his favorite tactics: face faith guarding.

In this moment, I have emerged from the forest and am able to see the scenery. I am able to see what God did as we trusted him to reach our community. I love it when I can see!

I am learning that I don’t have to wait until He has been faithful to express non-anxious leadership. I can, while we are still back down the trail, navigating windy paths and unexpected obstacles, express confidence that the path we’re on is good.

Today, I am considering how I can better call out the enemy when he attempts to, through doubt and fear, keep me from being on the offensive.

By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. (Ephesians 3:7, 8 NLT)


One thought on “Face Guarding

  1. Troy Mueller says:

    Yes, face guarding is very annoying and I didn’t like it and it did escalate the aggression and intensity. Your insightful comments have made me realize that I have been also spiritually “face-guarded” on occasion, I need to be more aware and able to recognize it for what it is…. Thanks!

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