“Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him firmly in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 (KJV)
When I was a student athlete playing football in college, we would prepare extensively for the upcoming opponent physically and mentally. Physical preparation consisted of one-on-one and team drills designed to imitate playing or game day conditions as well as a demonstration of the opponent’s offensive formation by the demonstration team. Preparation for the week’s opponent was also supplemented with cardio in the form of wind sprints and weight training. The mental aspect involved hours of film work, an examination and studying of the opponent’s offensive formations on the whiteboard and a scouting report that consisted of the opponent’s personnel, plays, formations, strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. We also had to know where we were most vulnerable because a very capable and worthy opponent would exploit my team’s weaknesses for their advantage. The time usually invested for preparation was typically 35 to 40 hours a week.
Likewise, it is absolutely imperative that we commit ourselves to a deliberate exercise of intense and focused study of God’s scouting report, the Word of God, so that we may prevent our ancient and relentless three-headed opponent comprised of the Flesh, the World and Satan (FWS) from having his way with us.
For instance, from studying God’s Scouting report, the most impeccable and infinite source of information that the world has ever known, there are a number of strategies with which the FWS will seek to sink and seduce us. These strategies include:
- To invoke our instincts
- To intensify his influence
- To invigorate our intemperance
- To incite intimidation and
- To instigate our insurgence.
This week, we will focus on the first strategy: how the FWS invokes our instincts to encourage rebellion against the Word of God.
Strategy #1: Invoking our Instincts
The FWS pleads for us to usurp the Lords leadership of the Spirit and promote our natural instincts as our authority and reference for all answers. This capricious cowardly trio calls us to trust our instincts and not God. However, the scouting report states that our instincts are unreliable and extremely dishonest, debased, steeped in seduction and instability.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Romans 7:18 (KJV)
This is why our Father insisted that we trust Him rather than relying on a rebellious heart.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)
“Thus saith the Lord; ‘Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.’” Jeremiah 17:5 (KJV)
It is clear from scripture that our natural instincts lead us to a path paved with perverse proclivities leading to compromise, costly decisions and a catastrophic conclusion. Often our instincts will cause us to avoid taking any responsibility for rebellion against our Father. For instance, when our first original parents, Adam and Eve, transgressed against God their instincts induced them to cover themselves in fig leaves, run away and hide themselves from God instead of turning to God in humility and taking ownership for what they had done (Genesis 3).
Instincts are usually impulsive and are indicative of the depravity that is deep in our hearts. FWS invokes our instincts for the purpose of mastering our lives. To shake off the seduction of FWS, we must be intent on applying the truth of Scripture rather than succumbing to the innate instincts of our flesh.
Join me again next week as we continue to discuss the five strategies employed by FWS and how we can purpose to prevent FWS from taking us out.
For the Glory of God,