For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6: 12-13
And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
2 Corinthians 2: 10b-11
Knowledge is power.
Each week when our coaching staff prepares the game plan for our next opponent, our top objective is to know how they will attempt to attack us in each situation over the course of a game. Our goal is to be so familiar with their schemes that we can predict their next call before it happens. Our players don’t have time to think on game day….
They must simply react to their training.
When the dust settles, how we play on game day all comes down to how well we trained and prepared during the week. If we do all our thinking as we prepare, we will react well in the heat of battle. By equipping our players with the necessary knowledge of the opponent, and then training them how to use that knowledge all week long, we put our team in the best possible position to succeed on game day.
A good scouting report is essential.
Each day, whether you know it or not, you are in a battle—of eternal proportions—with an opponent who is constantly on the offensive.
Are you well prepared?
The Apostle Paul offers some wise coaching on how to prepare for this daily eternal battle:
- Know your opponent
Paul tells us “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our opponent is Satan and his spiritual forces.
Paul not only tells us who our opponent is, but he presents the scouting report on how Satan likes to attack us when he writes, “….that Satan will not outsmart us.” Satan is a trickster. A deceiver. A manipulator. He plays mind games. He lies. As Jesus said at the end of John 8:44, Satan “is a liar and the father of lies.”
- Prepare for his schemes
So how do we prepare for Satan’s game plan of lies and deception?
First, Paul writes: ”…we are familiar with his evil schemes.”
In other words….know where Satan likes to attack you…..BEFORE it happens!
Is lust a struggle? Is greed a weakness? Is forgiveness a bitter difficulty? Does jealousy and envy consume your mind? Is negativity a snare? Does judging others have a stronghold on you?
Understand where he is going to attack you before he strikes!
Then pray for God’s help, guidance, and strength. Ask him for the protection of his “full armor.”
Second, Paul instructs: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
After you have done everything.
There is action required on our part. Activity. Preparation. Action. Training.
We must be rooted and saturated in God’s Word. We must study it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. We must be strengthened through prayer—growing in a deeper and deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father. We must worship him. Give him the honor and praise he is due. Be in community with others who know Christ. Holding each other accountable.
And we must think. A key part of the Christian faith is thinking through the Gospel and how it applies to every part of our lives. We need to think how the Gospel applies to our family, to our work, to our friendships, and to our finances. It must become central to our very being, moving, and living in this world.
- Confidently play the game
If you’ve prepared well….go play! Enter the battle with confidence! You have absolutely nothing to fear! You are ready! You know your opponent, you know his schemes, and if you’ve taken action…..you are prepared!
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!” (James 4:7) In Christ, the victory is yours!