27 "... and give no opportunity to the devil."
Ephesians 4:27 (ESV)
Scouting reports and film sessions provide valuable information on our opponents. They inform us of players’ strengths and go-to moves and plays we need to really lock in on.
But they also help us see weaknesses, especially of individual players: Maybe the player is right-hand dominant; force him left. He always looks to get to the rim; close out short. He never boxes out; crash the offensive boards.
We find weaknesses in order to exploit them as much as possible.
What if a scouting report existed that focused on our daily lives instead of our sport? Do you know what yours would say? What strengths or weaknesses would come into focus?
Our great opponent, the devil, certainly knows this information about us, and unlike many of us, he isn't just a casual peruser of the information.
He studies us; he knows us. He is aware of the struggles and temptations each of us individually has the most trouble with. He knows what will likely make us stumble.
The Bible says he prowls around like a lion just looking for his next meal (1 Peter 5:8).
In order to combat this onslaught, we must be self aware.
Though it can be difficult, we must be honest with ourselves about what we really struggle with. Even asking a close friend or two to help evaluate where we might be the most vulnerable and giving them the freedom to hold us accountable. And it will help to remember avoiding is always easier than resisting!
Do I have difficulty controlling myself around alcohol? Maybe it's best if I stay in this weekend.
Do I always tend to watch vulgar or obscene shows or movies? Maybe I should read tonight instead of turning the television on.
Am I prone to selfishness and self promotion when certain topics come up? Maybe I should try and be silent when they arise.
This doesn't only have to be a defensive game, though. We play offense by renewing our minds in truth (Ephesians 4:23) and preaching the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ frequently to ourselves. Remember that Jesus has completely freed us from the slavery of sin, stripping it of its power over us (Romans 6:14).
Though Jesus has already won the game, the devil still has a lot of fight in him. Let's not provide a foothold in our lives to him.
Reflect: Do I live aware of these dangers, or do I allow myself to stroll into any trap, snare or deception he sets in my path? What sins, temptations and struggles tend to give me the most problems or repeatedly pop up in my life?