I love football. Football season is one of my most favorite times of the year. I look forward to it like a little kid looks forward to Christmas.
Yesterday at my son’s game, one of his coaches yelled to one of the linebackers:
“Make him forget his love of the game!”
I know this boy. He’s one of my son’s besties. Although he’s an excellent athlete; off the field he’s a tender-hearted kid with a great sense of humor. So Coach’s challenge made me laugh out loud. However, the intention, the competitiveness, and the aggression of the challenge were awesome; and this boy’s response was exactly what Coach was looking for.
That challenge also penetrated my heart and mind.
No, I’ve never played football. Nor have I tackled a linebacker.
But I have gone toe-to-toe with Satan. And I’d bet, you have too. He’s menacing and intimidating. Tall and terrifying. Sometimes he’s harsh and aggressive in his attacks. Other times he’s more subtle; but no less intimidating, no less terrifying. He plays on my insecurities and fills my heart with fear. He whispers lies in my ears and stirs up anger and condemnation. He tries to make me question my calling and forget my love for writing, ministry, talking about Jesus, my savior, and myself. And sometimes he wins—but only for a little while.
Because that’s when I hit my knees and the Spirit reminds me Jesus didn’t give us a Spirt of timidity and fear, but of POWER, LOVE, and SELF-DISCIPLINE. (2 Tim 1:7). And when I get up—I make Satan forget his love of the game.
Beloved, when we submit to God, He empowers us to resist the devil and make him flee (Ja. 4:7). And there’s no better way to do that than by mimicking Jesus (Lk. 4:1-13). When we have a quiver full of God’s Word we can shoot firey arrows of Scripture at Him. And with each shot, the power of the Spirit courses through us making him run faster (Ehp. 1:19).
If your quiver is a little scanty, here are some arrows to fill it up (all are from the NIV):
- Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you…The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6, 8
- Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9
- Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23:4
- The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1
- I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. ~ Psalm 34:4
- When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:3-4
- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. ~ Isaiah 41:10, 13
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7
Beloved, this is my prayer for you when Satan tries to make you forget the love of the game:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13