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Understand that Satan exists

Soccer is an exciting game. But it looks as if it is more exciting to watch than to play. That is probably why you have only two teams of 11, and one ball, but 22,000 people watching.

It would be a lot easier for the one team if the other team wasn’t there at all, wouldn’t it? But then it would be so boring. Adding opposition is what makes it interesting – and dangerous.

This is two-team soccer… but have you heard of three team soccer? Three-team soccer is where two teams play against one team.

That is a lot harder – for that one team!

Now imagine if the two teams playing against the third are invisible!

It is my solemn duty to inform you that as a Christian, you are playing three-team soccer, and the teams playing against you are invisible, and the stakes are infinite in value.

I think that the angels and demons must be fascinated watching us play.

Let me elaborate…

As a Christian, if your life is like a soccer game, it is important to understand that you are playing with at least two teams against you. Further, either or both of them may not be clearly visible most of the time.

The first team is your own flesh. Your greatest enemy is yourself, or more accurately, the thoughts that enter your own mind.

The second team that is against you is Satan and his demons.

There could be other teams against you, such as other people, but they are the least of your worries. You have to really be careful about the first two.

As a young person, you will do well to understand yourself and your enemy. If you know your enemy then you will know when and how he might attack you, and you can take steps to thwart his attacks. If you know yourself, then you will recognize your weaknesses and compensate for them so that if the enemy tries to attack in the place where you are weak then you will not find yourself unable to defend yourself.

Let’s talk about team number one. Team number one is made up of what the Bible calls the lusts of your flesh. There are lots of them, and they are as strong as you allow them to be.

First of all, let me dispel any misunderstanding – when I use the word ‘flesh’ here, I am (and the Bible is) not talking of the skin that covers our body or the muscle mass that we have. Rather, I am talking about a selection of the thoughts that enter our mind. These thoughts have one thing in common – they tempt us to sin. Let’s examine some of them…

When your mom or dad asks you to do something, the thought or desire to not want to do it comes from the flesh. When you want to do something, and your parent nixes it, the desire to rebel (i.e. the desire to do it anyway), as well as the desire to hate your parent for not letting you do what you want comes from the flesh.

When you experience the desire to steal what is not yours, that desire comes from the flesh. Even the desire to have what someone else has, or the desire to hurt someone because they have what you want but don’t have comes from the flesh.

When your body tells you to do something – something that God doesn’t want you to do – it is the flesh that is operating.

When someone does something bad to you and you experience the desire to get even, that desire comes from the flesh.

When you have to get chores done, but your body wants you to laze around and watch TV it is your flesh what is speaking to you.

The thought of seducing or making out with the attractive girl or the handsome boy comes from the flesh.

When your teacher tells you to be silent while she is talking, the thought coming to you mind to not submit to her authority and talk anyway is a thought coming from the flesh.

All thoughts (usually in the form of desires) that invite us to do what is contrary to God’s word are thoughts that arise from our flesh – the part of us that tempts us to sin.

All these thoughts / desires come from within. These thoughts are our enemies because if we do what they tell us to then they cause us to displease God – the holy, almighty, loving God who reigns everywhere and forever.

As long as you live, you will have to fight against your flesh. It is a life-long battle. But there is good news – when Jesus returns, He will give those who love God a new body – a body that doesn’t have a flesh, and all who love God eagerly look forward to the day when we will receive that new body. In the Bible, this hope is called the hope of the gospel, or the hope of glory, or the hope of the resurrection.

One sign that you love God is that you fight against your flesh.

Next, let’s talk about team number two. Team number two is made up of Satan and his fallen angels. There are lots of them, and they are smarter than you.

Satan’s objective is four-fold. He will try to get you to persecute the true children of God, or to get you to dishonor God, or to get you to not be saved, or to get you to not be fruitful and lose your reward.

First, Satan doesn’t merely want to destroy you, but he wants to use you to destroy the children of God. He will try to get you to poke fun at the children of God in school or the workplace. He will try to get you to speak evil of them, or even hurt them or kill them, just like he was able to make the Pharisees do that. He will try to get you to sow seeds of discord among them, and divide them.

Second, Satan will try to get you to destroy yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and dishonor God with your life. If you are the rebellious type then he’ll try to entice you with sex, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and the like. He will try to introduce you to friends who will lead you astray. If you are the goody-two-shoes type then he’ll try to get you to be proud and resentful and gossipy, and the like.

Third, Satan will do whatever he can to prevent you from getting saved. He will try to distract you in all kinds of ways so that you never get time to sit down and think about what is really important. He will also try to give you false teaching, and (surprise, surprise) he will do it through the people you trust the most. Even after you are saved, he will try to get you to fall away. He is totally fine with letting you think you are saved when you aren’t.

Fourth, if you managed to get saved and stay saved, Satan will try to stop you from being as useful to God as possible. He will try to hide your true ministry from you. He will tempt you with money and power. He will try to get you to marry the wrong person. He will try to get you to go to a place where God doesn’t want you to be. He will do whatever it takes to try to make you lose the anointing of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Unless you are full of discernment and knowledgeable of his wiles, most of the time you will not even realize that Satan is at work. His team is a formidable opponent and skilled at taking the ball away from you and shooting it into your goal, time and again.

But there is hope – like Jesus, we too can overcome him if we learn to humbly use the word of God as our weapon.

Stop and think about the ways Satan might try to deceive you or let you believe false teaching. It will be time well spent.

One more thing: the devil will try to make a deal with you. Just like he tried to make a deal with Jesus (when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness) he will also try to make a deal with you. He will offer you pleasure, power, money, and whatever else you may want if you are willing to sell him your soul. It is never worth it. If you deal with the devil you invite a great measure of the wrath of God because Satan is an enemy of God.

If you make a deal with him it will be difficult to get out of it. So don’t even start. Don’t think that you can deal with the devil for a while and then later jump out. He will not let you go that easily.

If you have already made a deal, get out immediately and seek protection from God. You will suffer consequences but know that God will always be on your side against the devil.

Copyright (c) 2007-2026, Rosario (Ross) D'Souza. All Rights Reserved
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