I once had the opportunity to interview a man that had a very unique history that endeared him to my heart. He was a pastor who took James 1:27 seriously and created an adoption ministry that is now almost 16 years old. That was certainly cool but there was something even before that. He was the only pastor I knew that had also played in the NFL. Even better, he had played for BOTH of my top two favorite teams (neither of which is doing great this year unfortunately), the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys. His name was Pastor Ken Hutcherson (Hutch).
In my interview, we discussed the connection between being a great football player and being a strong warrior for Christ. Hutch said it all came down to knowing the playbook. As Christians, our playbook is the Bible and Jesus is our coach. How can we possibly follow our coaches instructions if we don’t know His playbook. It is VITAL we study that thing and know His plays. However, it is also just as important to know the plays of your opponent. Since we don’t have access to the playbook of the other teams, we have to study by watching film.
In football, you have access to game day film and can study how your next opponent responds to certain scenarios. What kind of plays do they typically call in what situations? If you don’t study the enemy, you will be tricked by his game.
As Christians, we are playing a game that has much more at stake than a football game, even more than the Super Bowl. As Christians, our fate is sealed. Our name is already written in the Book of Life and cannot be erased by anyone. However if we are called to spread the Gospel and make disciples, then the ‘game’ we fight is for other people’s souls.
With this much at stake, it is vital we know the plays. We learn our team’s plays by studying the playbook (the Bible). This helps us to know how to run offense to the best of our ability. But if we don’t study the enemy’s plays, then we have no clue when to run certain defensive plays. When Paul was writing another letter to the Corinthians, he was trying to teach them about being aware of the enemy. He said he regularly prayed for them and forgave them “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Cor 2:11)
So what are his plays? What are his designs? We see evidence of them in the Bible.
- Twisting scripture “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Gen 3:1) – the first and perhaps the most common play Satan has is to take the words of God and attempt to twist them in our minds.
The more you know scripture, the less effective this tactic is.
- Get you to blame God for trials “But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (Job 1:11) – Satan believes if he can get us to blame God for the evils of this world, we will curse Him.
Read more Job and any of Paul’s prison letters, problems exist in this world but through Christ, we can do all things.
- Deceit through false prophets “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Cor 11:3) – A twist of his original sin is to use people who are false prophets. These minions of Satan will seem to be preaching a gospel message but if it is dissected, you will discover it is not Gospel of Christ.
Rely on the Spirit to discern the messenger. No matter what name they claim, if they preach anything contrary to the Gospel of Christ, they are a false prophet. If you cannot trust EVERYTHING they espouse, then you cannot trust ANYTHING they say.
With enough study, you will discover that just about everything Satan attempts falls into one of these three categories. Your best defense is a strong offense. Study His word. It’s the best offense of all.