The Spiritual Rope-a-Dope

Want to know how to sucker punch the devil? Jared Wilson tells you how:

Muhammad Ali was a great practitioner of the rope-a-dope technique, which basically involves appearing to place oneself in a losing position that is actually a step toward the upper hand. Ali would lean against the ropes, suffering assorted blows from his opponents, tiring them out, which would put them in a precarious position when Ali was ready to bounce back up. Heavyweight titan George Foreman lost to Ali this way.

It is not recommended to open oneself to the infernal jabs of the devil. But when he comes to accuse, you can appear to do so by agreeing with him on the facts. (The “angel of light” is wont to mix his lies with a bit of truth because he knows/thinks this makes them seem more plausible to us.) He may appeal to our good grasp of theology, saying, “You are a terrible sinner and deserve eternal condemnation” — which of course is true, and he and we both know it — and pair it with “Who could ever love you? Do you think a holy God would love you?” Do you see how he moves from a fact to an accusation, an implicit denial of the gospel? (If he can’t get us to doubt the gospel, he may also be trying to get us to deny the fact that we are sinners. Either way, whether we doubt the truth or accept a lie, he will be satisfied.)

Go rope a dope on the devil. First, agree with him on the facts. “Yes, you are right; I am a terrible sinner.” He will not expect this feint and may mistake it for his advantage. While he is for an instant struck dumb, then, quickly crack him with the gospel. While he is reeling from your feigned submission — which does you or the faith no harm, as agreeing to facts is not a sin — he will be open for this crushing blow. The name of Christ proclaimed in gospel power is a haymaker. “One little word shall fell him.”

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