In the game of basketball, sometimes the best strategy is to attack your opponent’s defense by employing a backdoor offense. What that means is that all the action takes place in front of the opposing team, distracting them from what is happening behind them. Then a player out of view sneaks in behind the defense and becomes briefly open before they know what hit them. The ball is delivered and an easy dunk or lay-up ensues. (see diagram below)
As Christ-followers sometimes I think we still buy into the fact that our enemy – Satan – is the red, pitchfork-carrying, pointy tail, snake-like man that comes at us in the most obvious of ways.
Some of that is true. Not the physical characteristics but certainly our enemy attacks us from the front very often. He comes at us with blatant temptations. He tells us to seek ourselves. He tempts us with our fleshly lusts. We live in a world where pornography and obvious sexual references are everywhere and they seek to entice men especially.
We live in a culture that says “my truth” is the most important thing and all I have to do is “follow my heart.”
There are other various frontal attacks that we have to be aware of but let me encourage you to “guard your backdoor” as well. Oftentimes the fight seems to be out in front of us but the enemy is really using things to distract us from how he is really trying to get us.
That is why Peter reminds us to…
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
So guard your backdoor! What does that mean?
I wrote a post a few months ago about discouragement. Recently I shared this when I talked with a group of college students. The point is that discouragement only tells us half the truth. The whole truth is what God says about and in the midst of our discouragement.
I think that is Satan’s greatest ploy. Remember Satan is a thief.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
He wants to steal the fullness of life that Jesus has given us!
To get a Christian neutralized he will try to steal our confidence. We have to remember what Isaiah said to the Israelites…
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
The enemy will try to steal our peace. He will try to make us think that our peace is dependent on our circumstances.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
He is after your joy. Not happiness. Your joy is something HE CAN’T TAKE. But he will try to sneak in the backdoor and rob it from you.
I have told you this so that My (Jesus) joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
I think one of the biggest ways that satan subtly tries to win the war over us is by getting in our minds. Maybe we allow that too easily.
If he can change the way we think it changes everything else. He tells us and has us thinking – you can’t be good enough, you aren’t worthy, you are dirty, you are weak. Those things on their own are true but remember if we are in Christ THEY ARE ONLY HALF-TRUTHS. Jesus is the whole truth. He says you can’t be good enough, but because of what I did, I have made you righteous. You aren’t worthy, but I died for you anyway. You are dirty, but I made you as clean and white as snow. Yes, you are weak, but My strength is made perfect in your weakness.
I say all of this – I could go on for days about the subtle ways the enemy attacks the backdoor – but I say it to say – REMEMBER THE WHOLE TRUTH. Yes, guard from the obvious temptations. Avoid situations that you know will cause you to stumble. Be aware of the obvious vices that make you weak and vulnerable, but also guard the backdoor.
Discouragement, lack of self-worth, lack of confidence, lack of peace and joy. Satan will attack all of those and more. He will tell you that you don’t have a purpose. That you are insignificant and don’t matter. ALL of these are ways to get in your head and steal and destroy you from the inside out.
So don’t give the enemy a foothold. Stand firm against the front and backdoor attacks. How?
Get in the Word! Get around people that will encourage you. Get involved in using your gifts in the church. The more you know the truth and experience the truth, the more you will know how to guard the backdoor from the enemy.
I pray that this encourages you to be aware of the enemy, but more importantly, be sure of who you are in Christ, and helps you LIVE ON PURPOSE for Him!