Offense or Defense?

“So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.” (1 Corinthians 9:26 NLT)

My dad boxed in a Y.M.C.A. league when he was in his teens and taught me the fundamentals of boxing when I was a boy. A common expression used in a boxing match is: “styles make fights.” What does that mean? It essentially refers to the way some boxers move, how they punch, what kind of defense they use, are they fast or slow, are they predominantly an offensive or defensive fighter, right or left handed. This information is critical for a boxer to know about their opponent. Why?

Because if you enter a fight expecting the other guy to be passive, laid back, predominantly defensive in style, and he comes at you like a bull in a China shop, it could be a very short fight. What’s my point?

Satan is very crafty, but very predictable. He uses the same “tools” to attack us in virtually every fight. John 10:10 gives us insight into what Satan’s goals are when John writes: The thief’s (Satan’s) purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”

Photo by Rachel Claire on

The context is Jesus speaking regarding His being our good Shepherd. He explains that His sheep recognize His voice and come to Him. Satan is a liar and a thief. He seeks to enter the sheepfold by sneaking in another way in order to steal the sheep, kill them, or destroy them by crippling their ability to hear and or follow their master’s voice.

How does Satan do that? One of his primary tools is deception. When Paul spoke in terms of athletics, he was encouraging us to be prepared. We don’t always know if our devilish opponents will come straight at us or try to sneak up behind us. Whether his attack will be offensive or defensive.

When Muhammed Ali was boxing, one of his tactics was the “rope-a-dope.” He would lean against the ropes and pretend to be hurt, so his opponents would wear themselves out trying to finish him off. But once they were worn out from useless swinging, he’d attack and knock them out.

Satan tries to do a similar thing with us. How? By putting fear or intimidation in our hearts or minds, to deceive us into believing something that isn’t true. Satan is no match for a believer whose faith in Jesus is strong and whose dependence is clearly and fully upon the Lord.

Paul, in Ephesians 6:11 teaches us: “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” Satan cannot rob us of our salvation, but he can, if we allow it, render us ineffective.

In virtually any sport, the most important muscle we have is our brain. When our mind is steadfast in our dependence upon the Lord and determined to allow His Holy Spirit to fill and empower us in every circumstance, Satan is helpless to defeat us.

A little boy was telling his mom about how sometimes at night, when it was dark in his room, he would get scared. So his mom asked him what he did. “Well,” he said, “when fear knocks on my door, I just ask Jesus to answer it.”  That’s sound advice.

In many sports the greatest defense is an effective offense. What does that mean? It basically means be prepared. Read and study God’s Word, pray like your life depends on it, and always know you have at least one “2 a.m.” friend you can call any time of day or night and know they will answer. His name is Jesus.

God is all-powerful. Satan is not. Be sensitive to your Shepherd’s voice and know He has never lost a battle. He’s your best defense regardless of Satan’s fight plan.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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