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The Opponent

Identify those opponents in your life who have caused you not to see the fullness, wholeness, abundance promised in the Word; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

In athletic competitions like football, soccer or basketball, we know our opponents. Those who oppose us usually wear a jersey or uniform that differs in color from ours; they are clearly on the opposing side, challenging us at every play. Their goal is to win, to be victorious over our team.

In the game of life, we also have opponents that want to steal the victory from us; adversaries and opposing forces that keep us from seeing and embracing the abundant life promised by Jesus. But these opponents are sometimes not easy to identify. They don’t wear a different color uniform, and could pose as friends. The first step toward victory is to identify your opponents.

In the NIV Bible, in the same verse from John, our opponents are called “thieves who come to steal and kill and destroy.” Often our opponents live right inside ourselves. They come in the form of negative attitudes that set us up for failure; discouragement; feelings of inadequacy; over-indulgence in food or other pleasures; lack of self-esteem; depression; anger; fear; resentment; mistrust; shame; temptation to sin; dwelling on grief or other problems; lack of discipline—the list goes on and on.

In training athletes to be better than their best, we say, know your opponent. See them for what they are. Jesus did this, and so did his disciples. They took authority over their opponents—often called demons or evil spirits—and did not allow them to have power over them.

Look in the mirror. Sometimes your enemy, your adversary, is staring right back: IT’S YOU!

If you want to win, to feel and sense the thrill of victory, to be the best you can be, then YOU MUST NOT FORGET the first part of John 10:10. Be honest with yourself and name the opponents in your life and then begin to deal with them one by one.

“I must start living in this Kingdom of Heaven right here and now. There must be no qualification, no subterfuge, no reservation whatsoever!”—Glenn Clark