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The Hammer & the Nail

I recently was reminded of a phrase that I heard during my first football practice as a kid. We were split up into two lines. One line was for the runner who was carrying the football, and the other line was for the defender who had to tackle the ball-carrier before he got to a certain line. While the drill was going on, my turn in line as the defender was slowly approaching. Once I got close to the front of the line, one of my coaches looked at me and said, “Are you going to be the hammer or the nail today?” I had a choice on my hands on what role I could take in this situation. I could take on the aggressor role of being a hammer and making the tackle, or I could take on the role of being the nail and just lay down to the challenge and be defeated.

Although the first time I heard this phrase was related to a football experience, I like to use this comparison for our daily battles that we encounter with the devil. The devil will continuously try to tempt us and will never give up on trying to deceive us.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

When confronted by the devil, we should strive to take on the role as the hammer and annihilate his deceptive ways. Do not succumb to his pressure and be beaten in like a nail, but be strong and be the aggressor in the battle.

So how can we take on the role of being the hammer?

1. Preparation & Strategy -  Just like a boxer before a fight, or a person who is going into a debate, they will mentally prepare for their conflict and prescribe a strategy that they will try to follow so that they will come out victorious. The daily battles that you have with the devil will test how strong you are mentally. Preparing yourself and having a game plan to take on this conflict will lead you to victory. A great example of this point was Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days and nights and had become hungry and probably mentally weak. The devil thought he had the upper hand on Him, but every time the devil tested Him, Jesus fired back with God’s Word and defeated him. “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” (Matthew 4:11) To defeat the devil and his temptations, Jesus had a strategy of using the scripture. Jesus’ knowledge of the scriptures came from His preparation and time spent studying the Word.

2. Confidence & Courage – To be the hammer, you must be strong and confident. Being mentally strong can come from having courage. The devil knows all our weaknesses and knows exactly what areas of our life to try and test to bring us down. The devil will always defeat the person who is scared and acts timid. The nail is the timid one, who does not contain confidence and will lay down in defeat in their battle. If you struggle with having confidence and courage, pray to God for it, and He will help provide you with the tools for your battle.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

“For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” (Proverbs 3:26)

3. Be committed to your strategy -  In my football drill experience, I had to come up with a strategy, have confidence, and commit to my plan to tackle my opponent. All of the preparation would have been wasteful, if I wouldn’t have been committed to my plan. Commitment is the deciding factor whether or not you will defeat your opponent. Everybody can come up with a plan that sounds good, but when things get tough or tempting, staying committed to that strategy is a difficult task. Try to put your faith in God and stay committed to your plan.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

Preparing a plan, having confidence and courage, and staying committed to your plan will help you maintain the role as the hammer in your battles with the devil. Make the devil yield to your strength and determination and make him take on the role as the nail.

So, when it comes to your conflicts with the devil, are you the hammer or the nail?

- Reagan Corry