Last night was the end of March Madness when the UNC Tar Heels lost to the Villanova Wildcats by two points in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game. (If I were you, I might stop reading right now, but don’t. Keep going.)
I’m not much of a sports fan, even though I attended the University of Chapel Hill. I actually had to google the game to make sure I had everything spelled right in that first sentence. But the game did remind me of another basketball game years ago. One where I learned a valuable lesson about the voices we listen to.
My son played on his High School’s basketball team. At one of the games, I noticed a man on the home side of the court videoing of the game. I also noticed a man on the opposing side doing the same.
“Steve, who are those men with the video cameras and why are they recording the game?” I asked my husband.
“The guy in the opposing stand is from the team that we’ll be playing next week,” he explained. “He is recording the game to study our weaknesses, so our opponents will know where to attack and defeat us.
“The man on our side is recording the game also looking for weakness, but for a different reason. He will show our team their weaknesses so they can learn from them and improve . . . to make them better. Same video. Different purposes.”
And then I saw it.
Then I saw it.
The video of my life being recorded by the enemy and the advocate.
As I said, I don’t know much about sports, but I do know a bit about how the enemy works. He records the video of our lives and looks for our weakness to bring us down—to plan his attack, to defeat us.
The Bible has many names for that enemy: Satan, the great serpent, the deceiver, and the devil.
But the most telling name is found in Revelation 12:10: the accuser who accuses believers before God day and night.
Some say that the devil’s main role is tempting mankind to sin. But I believe what trumps even temptation is his role as the accuser who shackles us with shame and condemnation once we succumb to the temptation.
He paces before God saying, “She did this and she did that.” He plays and replays the video in the theater of your mind, pointing out all your faults and weaknesses to bring you down.
He is AGAINST you.
But remember, there were two men creating a video of Steven’s game.
Just as the accuser is against you, there is someone else who is for you.
Before Jesus went to the cross, He assured His followers that He would not leave them as orphans. He promised to send the Spirit who would encourage, enlighten, empower, and intercede for all believers. And then Jesus gave the Spirit a name: the Advocate.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
An Advocate is someone who is for you and acts on your behalf. Yes! He is for you! And one of the ways that He is for you is to convict you of sin—of something that you have done that is contrary to the ways of God. God will never reveal a weakness, a sin, or a flaw in your life just for the sake of exposing it.
He always reveals a deficit because it’s time to make it right—to conform you to the image of His Son. The Holy Spirit awakens your senses to an area of your life that you need to change, and then helps you do it.
He shows you the video and says, “Right there. See that move. Let’s work on that area and improve your game.”
While the accuser points our your weakness and makes you feel you can never change, the advocate points out your weakness so that you can change. It’s the same video, but seen from a different perspective.
So tell me, who’s voice are you going to listen to? Who’s voice are you going to believe?
The voice you listen to will determine your destiny.