In a game of athletics, whether soccer, hockey, basketball, or football, scoring for the other team is somewhat easy. An inadvertent tip here and a deflection there is all it takes. You may have watched a basketball player get disoriented and drive to the opponent’s basket and score a goal only to find out, with embarrassment, he scored for the opposing team. The same goes for a football player. Somehow the player gets spun around during an interception or fumble, runs the wrong way, and scores in the wrong goal. In a similar fashion, as Christians, we score for the wrong team. What? Yes. We assist the devil and his demons in harming and defeating other Christians and the church.
Also similar to a sporting event, let’s make sure we acknowledge that there are two opposing sides and only two sides in the spiritual realm. There is the Lord God almighty and Satan. There is no neutral ground. As Jesus states, LK 11:23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” You need to make sure you know whose side you’re on and to be careful not to score goals for Satan and his demons. Again, as Jesus states, the devil is a thief and a force of destruction. JN 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, details the reality of spiritual warfare to include clearly identifying the enemy and our weapons to combat him.
EPH 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Notice we are exhorted to “put on” the whole armor of God, which implies that we don’t automatically wear it all the time. Putting on the armor requires a decision on our part. It also implies we need God’s help in this battle. We can’t fight the battle on our own. Can you imagine a modern soldier going into battle without the proper helmet, tactical vest, and combat boots? No, I can’t either. So then, we shouldn’t consider fighting the battles we face in the spiritual realm without the proper gear.
So, with that, let’s get to the point. How do we score for the opposition in the spiritual realm? Simply fail to recognize we are in a spiritual battle, a war, fail to recognize the real enemy, and fail to put on our God-provided gear. That’s right. When we don’t own up, look up, and suit up it leads to the following (note: the gear listed by Paul in Ephesians chapter 6 protects us from these sinful acts):
- Lacking integrity and honesty
- Trusting in our own righteousness
- Being divisive and causing conflict (accusing, resenting, unforgiving, jealousy, envying, gossiping, disrespecting, contending, complaining, etc.)
- Giving into temptation
- Living for selfish purposes
- Compromising under persecution
- Disobeying the commands of Jesus to witness and make disciples
Let’s be honest, no Jesus-loving, God-fearing Christian desires to score for the opposition. However, when we fail to walk according to the Spirit the Apostle Paul reminds us that we aid and abet the enemy. GAL 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
If I stopped you on the street and asked you, have you ever scored for the opposing team, what would you say? Also, if I asked you, have you ever aided and abetted Satan in his work to harm your brothers and sisters in Christ and the church? The fact of the matter is, it is more likely that you’ve helped Satan and his demons injure or distract other Christians and His church than scoring at the wrong goal in a sporting event. A bad attitude here and a loose tongue there with a little hate or resentment sprinkled on top is all it takes. So, let’s grab our gear, suit up, and walk in step with the Spirit as we pray, persevere, and claim victory over the enemy.
A Work in Progress,