When I was in college, I spent my spare time working in the university’s women’s basketball office. I spent countless hours helping the coach cut game film and scout the upcoming opponent. We would spend hours studying the tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses of the other team’s players. We would try to determine which players on our team would match up best with the players on the other team so that we could exploit their vulnerabilities and ultimately beat them. Our goal was to make them play our game. We wanted to control the speed of the game. We wanted to control the fast break. We wanted to control the low post. We wanted to control the perimeter.
In other words, in order to be a good coach, you had to know the details of your own players as well as the players of the other team. You had to know what everyone (players of both teams) were going to do in a certain situation before the game ever started. You had to do your homework.
The basketball years are long behind me at this point. I haven’t studied a game film in a long time. Even though I still enjoy watching the games, I watch now for enjoyment more than for scouting purposes.
But the scouting isn’t over. It never was. You and I are being studied constantly. We have an opponent that knows our every move. We have an opponent that is studying our tendencies, and likely knows what we will do in a certain situation before we are ever in it. But this opponent isn’t studying us to control an earthly game. Oh no. He is must more sinister than that. This opponent is studying us to control our spiritual eternity.
The Bible describes Satan as our “adversary…[who] walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” [I Peter 5:8] He is also referred to as the enemy (Matthew 13:39), the evil one (John 17:15), and the god of this age (II Corinthians 4:4). Make no mistake about it. We are on his turf. His goal is to destroy us. Here’s some things you need to know about this enemy:
- Satan knows you and your tactics.
No matter what, Satan will know you. Just like any good scout, he will know you in one of two ways. Either he knows you because you are on his team (I John 3:8), or you are the one he is trying to defeat (Ephesians 6:12). He is constantly looking for ways to exploit a vulnerability (II Corinthians 2:11).
- Satan knows your weapons.
Our ultimate weapon is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), and it is indeed powerful. However, if you think you have a leg up on Satan because you study Scripture, think again. Satan knows the scriptures, too. When tempting Jesus in the wilderness, he quoted from Psalm 91 (Matthew 4:6). He knows what you are doing to arm yourself, and he will try to make you question what you believe.
- Satan will not give up.
We should never think that we have grown to a point spiritually that Satan will give up on trying to tempt us. I have often thought that when you feel like Satan is leaving you alone, that is the time we should be worried. Either he is waiting for the most opportune moment to strike, or maybe he doesn’t need to keep after us because we are already his and we don’t even know it. We will never get to the point that Satan will give up on us. The stronger we are, the bigger the threat we are to him, so the harder he will try to take us down. He even paid Jesus a personal visit to tempt Him to His face (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). If Christ was not too big for Satan to attack, we never will be.
No matter how strong it seems like Satan is, no matter how much he tempts us, no matter how much he seems to be in control of this world, there is one thing we must remember. The battle has already been won. The final blow has already landed (Matthew 27:32-56, 28:1-8; Ephesians 1:15-23; Hebrews 2:14). Because of the blood of Christ, we have nothing to worry about so long as we stay vigilant. We can’t bow out early in this fight with Satan. We must fight the good fight. We must finish the course. We must keep the faith. Then and only then will there be a crown of righteousness laid up for us. (II Timothy 4:7-8) That’s a crown that Satan cannot take away.
Satan knows you, and he knows me. We just have to make sure he also knows that we won’t be defeated.