“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

Most pitchers have a pick off move. Some are great at it. It can be a very effective tool. The throw to first base is a key to keeping the opposing team’s running game under control by keeping runners uncomfortable when they are on base. One of the best pitcher pick off moves belonged to Terry Mulholland, who picked off 15 runners with the Phillies in 1992. During the season he allowed just two steals in seven attempts. Mulholland never had more than seven pick-offs after that, mostly because runners just stood on first base; they were simply not willing to take the risk of being picked off.

Getting to first base is important in living a Home Run Life. Staying on first base in preparation for going to second base is also important. The devil wants to make sure you don’t enjoy a Home Run Life so he wants to ensure you don’t make it to first base, let alone around all the bases. But if you do make it to first base, he wants nothing more than to make sure you don’t stay there. This is nothing new. This is what he does and this is what he has been doing. In his mind, the end justifies the means, so he plays by no rules but his own. Hypocrisy, wrong motives, financial problems, criticism, discouragement, and conflicts are all fair game because anything goes. Our adversary will stop at nothing to undermine our character and destroy our hopes, happiness and our need for God.

The devil would like nothing more than to pick you off first base and harm and diminish your relationship and connection with God. He wants to make sure you do not get comfortable at first base. The devil has a variety of pick off moves, but two quickly come to mind.

First there is temptation. Satan wants us to have an unhealthy lofty view of self, and an unhealthy false view of God. Satan wants us to see ourselves as superior, and that we can do whatever we want to do. “We’ve earned it. We deserve it. There is no harm to it.” He wants us to rationalize sin, and to lessen the affects of sin upon our lives. He shows the bait, but hides the hook; gives us a gold cup, but hides the poison.  Satan wants us to view God as an all merciful, loving, gracious, hipster God, a “cool buddy” who wants to do life with us and doesn’t mind letting us do our thing once in awhile.

Second, there is the grim reality. Satan wants us to see ourselves as without hope, without a future, no forgiveness, no restoration, full of guilt, and to walk around in a funk feeling sorry for ourselves. He wants us to focus more on our sin, than on the Savior. Satan wants us to see God as distant. He wants us to think that God does not love us, nor will He forgive us. He is too righteous a God to bless us or give us a future, with all of the mistakes we have accomplished in the past.

In temptation, Satan tries to hide God’s holiness. In the grim reality, Satan tries to hide God’s love. In either scenario, if the devil is successful, we won’t have a proper view of who God is, and who we are.

He tries to pick us off first base using people or without people. He will try to pick us off first base using depression, success, or failure. He is constantly at work, bent on our destruction. In the end, he knows he can’t win. He is playing a wicked game of spiritual chess. He knows he’s doomed, but he’ll get your last man if he can. He knows Christ has already won, but he won’t give up without an ugly, unfair, and continuing fight.

What do we learn from this about Satan? He is the adversary. He is the opponent. And he wants to throw everybody off their game that are followers of Christ. The key is to understand that he will try to to keep us from each base in the Home Run Life and to rest on the power and promises of God.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Does Satan use believers to oppose God’s work? If so, how?
  2. What ways do you think Satan would attack you on first base? Why?
  3. Are you tempted to question God’s plan and design for your life? Is character the easiest area for Satan to attack?
  4. How can you personally use your times of temptation and failure to your own ultimate spiritual advantage?
  5. Pray and ask God for help in dealing with Satan.