Sunday, July 10, 2011

Scrabble Schemes

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  – Ephesians 6:9 (NIV)

I love to play Scrabble. When the kids were with us, the only one who’d play Scrabble with me was my youngest, David. A competitor to the bone, he’d make up words and insist they were legitimate. So I bought a Scrabble dictionary. If the word wasn’t in there, no go.
In time, I considered myself lucky to lose to David by only 50 points. Then he went to college, and the only time I got to play Scrabble was when he came home. Then he graduated, got a real job—and a life—and home visits are few and far between. So, no more Scrabble.
Then he bought me a Kindle for Christmas. I downloaded the Scrabble game almost immediately and now play “AL,” short for “Electronic Arts, Inc.” AL is really AI--Arts, Inc.--but it looks like AL, so I that's what I named my electronic opponent, which is basically a computer.
In my Scrabble games with David, I learned to use the bonus squares. But playing against a computer, that’s not enough. I had to learn to block my opponent—take away AL's chance of using the bonus squares and anticipate his moves, even if it means I have to put in a word with a lower score.
In real life, I have an opponent for whom it’s not a game and who's smarter than a computer. He’s not only out to steal my soul, but also works hard to discredit me—turn the good I do into bad, destroy my reputation and credibility as a Christian, make my efforts for God futile. Spiritual battles are hard to fight because the enemy is unseen, crafty, powerful, and can disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Like in the game of Scrabble, I’ve had to learn to block his moves.
But God doesn’t leave me defenseless in the biggest battle of my existence—the fight for my eternal life.
First, He gives me Himself: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Second, He gives me the strength to flee: “But God keeps His promise: He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what your power to resist; at the time you are tempted, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out” (1 Corinthians 10:13 TEV).
And third, just like I have a Scrabble dictionary to refer to, I have the Word of God, which Paul calls “the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17): “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9, see also verses 11 and 105, and 2 Timothy 3:16).
If I want to win in Scrabble, I have to block my opponent’s moves. Don’t be defenseless against the enemy. Block his moves with the bonus squares of God’s presence, strength, and Word. 
 Your Word, O Lord, is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105). Remind me to use it. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Ephesians 6:10-18

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