Nibbled to Death


And don’t give the Devil an opportunity.
Ephesians 4:27 


In the 1980s, the San Francisco 49ers made popular what became known as the West Coast Offense, an offense characterized by short, controlled-pass plays that gained only five to six yards. By running such low-risk plays, San Francisco nibbled away at their opponents. Even strong defensive opponents who never gave up “big plays” were humbled by the 49ers’ consistent gains. San Francisco’s strategy earned them five Super Bowl titles between 1982 and 1995.

Sports highlight shows are filled with replays of big plays: the breakaway goal, the 60-yard touchdown pass or the long homerun. Although these are exciting, rarely is a sporting event won in a single play. Certainly, the big play may put the nail in the coffin of an opponent, but often there are several small plays that lead to the loser’s demise. The key to winning often involves staying close to the opposing team, nibbling away at them until success is reached. This allows the team to capitalize on the mistakes of their opponents and benefit from the opportunities that they are given.

Christians must be aware that our opponent uses a similar strategy. If we allow Satan to “stay close,” he’ll find a way to break down our defense. He doesn’t need the big play to be successful, only enough small plays to capitalize on our mistakes. To overcome this strategy, we have to put him away early in the game, remembering that Jesus has already won the victory. Christ’s sacrificial love for us invites us to turn every area of our lives over to Him. This means giving up those pet sins that allow Satan to nibble away at us. Every questionable move, every little lie, every fit of anger keeps our opponent in the game. But by turning away from these through confession and by focusing our lives on the power of the cross of Jesus Christ, we leave the enemy in the dust!


1. Are you allowing Satan to stay close? If so, how?
2. Are there people or things in your life that are nibbling away at you?
3. When those nibbles occur, how do you react? 


Genesis 3:14
Proverbs 1:10-19
James 1:13-16
1 Peter 5:8-9 


Lord, help me to stay close to You today and live in the freedom of Your grace! Amen. 

Bible Reference: 
1 Peter 5