Men don’t be naive. Don’t live believing in God yet believing you don’t have an enemy with plans for your demise. God wants men to be engaged in spiritual warfare. But it may look different than what you think.
Paul says.. “we should not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes (plans, strategies, tactics)” 2 Cor 2:11 BLT
One strategy Satan uses is to hurt us, strike us when we are unable to defend ourselves—usually when we are young. After that, convince us to play the rest of life hurt. When men hear they need healing. They scoff. “The past is the past. What value is there in looking back. I’m all about moving forward.” They continue to play the game of life hurt because they can & it is expected. This goes on for years until the blow comes. Right where it hurts then they are not just out for the game, but for the season and maybe for life.
Playing hurt gives your opponent, the Devil a target he can hit where you are vulnerable anytime to get you out of the game. He plays dirty and will when it will cause the most damage to you and those you love. Satan will wait for “a more opportune time” to hit you (Luke 4:13). But he is afraid!! He seeks to get a unfair advantage over you because he is afraid of God in you as a whole and healed man and what you will do. Pursuing healing is spiritual warfare, though it’s typically not thought of that way. it removes the Devils ability to do targeted, calculated hits.
This clip from Gladiator is so much like Satan. Commodus taunts/brags yet He is afraid he will lose the battle with Maximus. So he wounds Maximus then goes at him in the arena for a ‘rigged fight’ where he has the upper hand because of a wound he inflicted before the fight began.
I played hurt for years. I was vulnerable to any little thing setting off my anger because of past wounds. It did not take much for kick my fears and anxiety into high gear that led to dumb mistakes-fumbles & interceptions. Those mistakes cost the team….i.e. my family, my wife, my work, my church. When God would encourage me to step back and look at what was driving my anger, anxiety & fears, I would resist. All I wanted to do was stay on the playing field. When I was benched, I was despondent. Why won’t God (my coach) put me in the game faster. Now I know there is such a thing as sideline training. Sideline training is required to remove all the bulls eyes and targets Satan can hit.
Rest is warfare- Graham Cooke
I see now, God calls us to play the long game not the short game. Playing the long game is spiritual warfare. We have plenty of time in the long game to be 100% healthy and whole before we step into our game (our arena of influence). There is no rush with God, only with men. Jesus is trying to provide for men the opportunity to join him in saying
“The prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me (niv) no power over me (nlt), no claim on me (esv), has nothing in me (nasb)” Jn 14:30
Healing is God strengthen you for the long game. Getting healed is spiritual warfare. So when he calls you up there are no targets the Devil can hit. When you play the long game you trust God through the waiting times. The times of watching others succeed. God wants us to have a career of following him, season, after season after season. He does not want just one great game with a targeted hit at the end that puts you out for the rest of the season or for good. A shooting star that burns bright then fades quickly.
Men play the long game. Take the time to be trained, healed and ready. Your time will come. And when it does Devil Watch out!!
*Photo: Avi Mangum in Action