Know your enemy series – how we react

I’ve written and talked a lot about knowing your enemy but this is the first on this blog site.  In short (before I get to today’s point), it’s always important to study your enemy and know their tactics.  We do this in military, sports, business, politics all the time.  But when it comes to the larger and much more important spiritual battle, too many people just ignore the enemy instead of getting to know his tactics.

First to clarify, I’m not one of those people who believe the “devil made me do it” is an accurate statement to anything.  The devil is a fallen angel who does have power and dominion over certain aspects of life here on earth.  However, our simple sin nature (free will gone wrong) and that sin nature of others around us is usually to blame.  Sometimes the devil interferes and gives a nudge here and there just as sometimes God interferes and gives a nudge of His own as well.  No, I’m more of the camp like C. S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters.  Satan has his demons (other fallen angels) that do what they can to keep the distance between us and God, to maintain that separation that sin created.  Once we’re saved, they don’t give us.  They may not be able to change that salvation, but they will strive to make us less effective in winning others for Christ.

So, today, we’re gonna talk about how Satan does that with our reactions to life’s situations.  His favorite play is for us to play the victim card.  By blaming others or circumstances, we take zero accountability and therefore do nothing to change.  By changing nothing, we don’t grow or improve through the situation.

However, there is another reactions that Satan enjoys almost as much, for us to play the victor card.  You see, this is the card where we stand up and take charge.  We determine that we’ll change everything.  We’ve really learned our lesson and that “situation” is never gonna happen to us again.  On the surface, this can sound like the right reaction, since it’s a much better reaction than the victim card.  However, this can be a ‘trick’ that Satan loves to use.  It’s called “remove the key player”.

Here’s how the “remove the key player” trick works.  Picture a sport, since I’m from the home of the Superbowl Champions, Seattle Seahawks (did I mention they DOMINATED the Superbowl), I will use them in the example.  Other teams know that Marshawn Lynch is a key player.  If they can shut down his running game, they have a better chance of beating the Hawks as a team.  They know they don’t need to stop the entire team, just a key player.  You can see this in almost any team.  That “removal” of the key player can be physical (through injury), or even mental or psychological.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 ends with “…a threefold chord is not easily broken”.  That has two meanings.  The Trinity of God is a chord of three strands, but there’s a second meaning.  The preceding versus are talking about “two is better than one” and then it mentions a “chord of three strands”.  In any relationship between two humans, if you keep the “third strand” (Christ) entangled in the chord, then it’s not easily broken.

So, how does the “victor card” equate to Satan “removing the key player”?  It works like this.  Christ needs to always be the key player in your life.  But when you play the victor card, you find yourself shifting into that key position and moving Christ into a second position.  You may still pray, read the Bible, go to church and maintain your full faith… but if you are now “in the driver seat” and turning God into your “co-pilot”, you’ve effectively taking His power out of the game.  You are now relying upon your own inner strength.  You may have the strength to get through your current situation and you may not.  Satan may even help you get through, because he knows that if you feel confident that YOU did it, you survived as the victor, then you will take the credit.  The more you begin to take credit, the less you believe you still need that key player.  You may even get to the point that you bench or trade that player.

How then do we avoid this “victor card” reaction.  Simply remember what Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”.  Remember where you derive your strength, who is your power.  Don’t be a victim and don’t be a victor, be a string in a relationship with other strings and be sure that the the third string is that of Jesus Christ.  Then and only then will you consistently defeat the enemy.

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