I gritted my teeth as my 12 year old daughter grinned at me smugly. I had lost another game of Connect 4.
Somehow, oblivious to the positions of her red counters, I had allowed her to yet again place one in a slot that meant she had a diagonal line of four in a row. Looking at the plastic board, I could see my pathetic array of yellow counters blocked by hers as soon as there was just two of mine lying together. Even when it was ‘my serve’, (the one who starts first should have an advantage) I found instead of being on the attack, I was just constantly in defence, trying to block where she was planning to go. The score was now 18-1 and there was no indication from her that she wanted a rest.
“Let’s play again!” she proposed, as the 44 counters crashed downwards into the tray.
“Er…I’m tired.” I replied, trying not to show my annoyance as my pride and competitive streak were being attacked on every side.
She insisted she wanted another game and went on to beat me another four rounds.
Over the following weeks, Sarah followed me around the house with the board in her hands. I’d be in the kitchen washing a pile of dishes.
“Game?” A blue board with 44 holes was shoved in my face as I tried to rinse a plate.
“Game?” I was on the desktop computer trying to send an email and all I could see was her hands holding…yes, that blue board.
I put a stop to her importunate requests when I caught her following me to the toilet.
“Look! You’ve already beaten me 56 times, aren’t you satisfied that you’re better than me? Haven’t I told you enough times that you are the Connect 4 Champion? You’re fantastic, okay? Now, please leave me to go to the bathroom in peace.”
As I dried my hands on the towel, I could hear plastic clanky noises from outside the door.
“Hurhh!” (that’s me sighing)
Today we played a few games and Sarah was not so happy and no so eager to continue – even just up to a meager 10 rounds.
I have gotten used to her strategy and the clever moves that used to bring her victory, don’t work for her anymore.
So today the score is 7-2…to me!
This brings a thought in my mind about the devil – the enemy of our souls who never tires trying to beat us daily and drag us down. One of his biggest schemes is to get us over-focusing on ourselves and our circumstances until we have no hope.
Don’t let him have the victory. Jesus has already given us a way out: get to know your enemy’s tactics so you can not only block his every move, but be on the attack yourself so that he will flee from you.
Those of us who know Jesus personally, know what our weapons are and how to make him flee, but putting it into regular practice is the thing we can all fall down on. My prayer is that we take his warnings seriously:
Be sober, well balanced and self-disciplined, be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion – fiercely hungry, seeking someone to devour. 1Peter 5:8)
In the meantime, beware of any child that approaches you asking if you’d like to play a few rounds of Connect 4. Your ego may be in for a thrashing!