The other day I was watching a basketball game and as one team applied a full court press, I recalled my days on the floor as the point guard and also my time on the bench as a coach. When I was the one playing I loved the opportunity to play full court defense; as a team we prided ourselves in forcing turnovers. As a coach I appreciated the opportunity to change the tempo of the game and take the opponent away from their game plan.
I also remembered times when I was on the flip side - the games when I or my team was the one facing the pressure, basically when we were under attack. The press could be intimidating and at times frustrating as it pressured you into mistakes you normally did not make and caused you to play at a speed faster than you wanted to.
All in all the press made sense from an defensive stand point, that is until the offense figured it out. Once they beat it, an easy two points is almost a guarantee. As I thought about this and even watched one team's press impact a game my thoughts went a little deeper - I no longer play or coach but at times I'm still under attack.
Granted there is no full court press facing me with traps and crowd noise, but there is an opponent trying to distract me, intimidate me and force me into making mistakes. This time the rival isn't the Saints or Huskies, no the opponent is more powerful than that! It's not just bragging rights or even a conference championship that's on the line, it's bigger than that!
This time the name on the jersey is Satan and this attack isn't a game, it's life. But his tactics are the same - he wants to force me into mistakes, so he distracts, he busies, he lies, he gets me going at a pace that's faster than I want, he bullies, simply put he attacks. Just like those days on the basketball floor sometimes when the press is working, the intensity increases and the mistakes do the same. He wants to bury me just like we wanted to do to our opponent.
It's true, I've seen it happen in my own life! As I thought about this truth my mind took another turn, how did we combat the press?
First of all, we had to be aware of it - teams like the element of surprise and I believe Satan does too. He wants to attack when we least expect it, he's more powerful when we're surprised. Back in the day, steals were easy when opponents got lazy and simply went through the motions. He wins when I do the same.
Still there were times when we were aware of the press and opponents ran it effectively. Why? Typically because we got in a rush, went away from our game plan, got frustrated or tried to break it alone instead of as a team. Those strategies never worked on the basketball court and they don't work in life either.
When Satan is attacking, I must listen to my heavenly coach and follow His game plan. I can't take things into my own hands and assume I'm in control. I must not get frustrated and give up. I need to remember I have teammates in the game of life and communicate with them and rely on them for help. When I do the outcome will be the same, the press will be broken and the attack will stop, but better than 2 points added to the score there will be a light shining brighter for Christ.
In those moments when your back's against the wall and the enemy seems relentless, remember the press can be broken and don't forget in this game the victory has already been won!!