I have been a Kansas Jayhawks fan for most of my life. Born and raised in western Kansas, I drew my first Jayhawk sometime around first grade. I didn’t even know what it was, but I thought it was cool! Much later in life, I would move to Lawrence, Kansas and work at the university as a full-time minister to Kansas University students.
My father played football for Kansas shortly before World War II broke out. It has been difficult, over the years, to watch Kansas football. There have been a couple of bright moments over my lifetime but for most of it, the Kansas football program has been lackluster at best. But, for the past two years, they have been building something fabulous and it has been fun to watch.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the new Kansas Football program is what the Offensive Coordinator, Andy Kotelnicki, is doing. He has movement in that offense like I have never seen, not even in the NFL. Television commentators make mention of it during every game. Multiple moves and shifts happening simultaneously, and all within the rules. Kotelnicki said he wants his offense to be the most unpredictable, most difficult to prepare for in the entire NCAA Division I. I can believe it.
That’s Kotelnicki’s gameplan. That’s his strategy. Every worthy opponent has a strategy. An opponent without a strategy is easily defeated.
Satan has a strategy—a gameplan.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his trickery, your minds will be led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 11:3, NASB
Paul has just warned the church at Corinth of Satan’s trickery, his tactics, his strategy to ensnare them (and us). While the tactics may change with time and culture, the underlying strategerie remains the same. Paul has just said, essentially, “The gameplan Satan used on Eve, he is going to use on us!”
If we go all the way back to the beginning, back to Genesis, we find the foundation for humanity’s need for the gospel message. It is in Genesis that we see the baseline events that made the redemption of humanity necessary—the fall of Adam and Eve, the ugliness of sin and death, the proliferation of that through early history leading up to the massive flood that destroyed everything, save Noah and his family.
Without these things, the gospel makes no sense.
Let’s look at how Satan dealt with Eve, and prepare ourselves for that same attack on us.
Doubt the Word of God
The Bible is not being ignored by today’s Cancel Culture. It’s not their endgame to ban the Bible. They just want to make it of no estimable value.
Western civilization would be in a fierce battle if the goal were to outright ban the Bible. Such an undertaking would be ineffective. But, using his tactic with Eve, the devil has been tremendously effective in pressing the message, “This isn’t God’s word. God didn’t say these things. You can’t rely on this antiquated book.”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
– Genesis 3:1, ESV
Same tactic. “Did God really say . . . ?”
The first recorded attack in scripture was the devil attacking not humanity, but the Word of God.
Satan will always attempt to make us doubt God’s word, God’s trustworthiness, to deconstruct our faith right down beyond the foundation to the underlying bedrock of truth. He will question its accuracy. He will attack the authenticity. He will claim historical error. He will attack the plain meaning of the message.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
– 2 Timothy 3:16, BSB
Having succeeded in getting us to doubt the Word of God, our slide is greased and we’re riding on waxed paper, careening our way toward a bad crash.
Deny the Word of God
Once Satan succeeds in persuading us to doubt our Bibles, he moves to Stage II, denial of it.
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”
– Genesis 3:4, ESV
With the first attack, Satan proposed doubt, “Did God really say this?” Then he moved to outright denial of what was said. “Oh, that won’t happen.” So, the word is allegedly untrustworthy, and the message it conveys is flat-out wrong.
When we deny the authority, the goodness, the truthfulness of God, we are deep into Stage II apostasy and heresy. We are standing atop the faultline, on exceedingly unstable ground.
If we continue to listen, Satan moves us to Stage III of our self-destruction.
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
– Genesis 3:5, ESV
And now the deception is complete. We went from “Did God really say . . .” to “Oh, that won’t happen,” to “Here’s what’s really going on.”
Denigrate the Person of God
Indeed, having proposed to Eve that what God said is not true, Satan puts forth an alternate narrative. “What’s really going on is that God knows eating of this tree will open your eyes, expand your mind, and make you just like God.”
Having embraced our doubt and our denial, the denigration of God himself is the next logical step. Look at social media today. Listen to the narratives of popular movies and television programs. Listen to popular daytime roundtable talk shows. The message is, “The Bible is for the feeble-minded. God (your sky-fairy) does not exist, or does exist but is a liar and hypocritical overlord.”
How far western society has fallen from the conviction that Yahweh is a loving God who seeks us out and pleads with us to return to him, having paved that way back for us through the blood of his own Son.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
– Ephesians 6:10-11, ESV