Friday, September 6, 2013

"There's a steal!"

I can still hear my little sister's voice on the old VHS tape from my senior night basketball game. She was excited about my steal and second's later videod a shot of the scoreboard and enthusiastically added, "In overtime!" so we'd remember the final game in Riceville was a thriller.

That moment was the personal highlight of my high school career...who doesn't want to get the steal and make a lay-up in the final seconds? The memory sticks out not only because we won the game, but because it all happened because of defense, which is what my game was all about.

Shooting was not my thing and height wasn't in my genes, so scoring and rebounding were things I did, but not areas where I excelled. But steals that's a stat I always checked!

I hadn't thought about this much lately, but the other day as I heard a speaker talk about Satan - the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy, I recalled my basketball days. The speaker shared how as Christians, Satan does not have the power to kill and destroy us, but friends he can and often does steal things from us.

He often works like I did on the basketball court...he anticipates, takes a risk and attacks when we're least expecting it. And he also prefers to take advantage of our weaknesses, he steals things when we're alone and knows when we are frustrated.

As I thought about this, my mind shifted from memories of myself as a defensive player to ones of when I was trying to protect the ball. Just as I prided myself in high numbers of steals, I worked hard to keep the number of turnovers low. How did I do that?

I studied my opponent. I knew her tendencies. I was alert and tried to be careful and wise with the ball. Friends, we must do the same with Satan. He's not just a quick, aggressive high school player; he's a lion on the attack out to steal from us whatever he can take...things like joy, peace and confidence.

In sports it's often said, "The best offense is a good defense" and I believe the same is true when it comes to faith. If we want to grow as believers we must defend our faith...not just from the world around us, but especially Satan the one who'd love to steal it, and all the good things God wants to give, from us.

Question for the day - What advice do you have to share about defending your faith?

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave, be strong. 
(2 Corinthians 16:13)

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