If the devil played baseball what position would he play? I believe he would be a pitcher. Orel Hershiser, who pitched the Dodgers to a World Series victory in 1988 once discussed his philosophy of pitching. He said,
“There are two theories of pitching. One is that you try to convince the batter that a particular pitch is coming and you throw something different.The other theory that you don’t hear as much, but that I use is that if the batter expects a particular pitch, you throw it, but you throw it in a place where he can’t hit it.” That is: Know what a batter wants or expects and throw the ball almost there. If he’s a highball hitter, throw it a bit too high. His eagerness will prevent him from laying off the pitch, but because of its location it’ll be hard to hit well.”
Doesn’t that sound like the way the Devil uses temptations against us? Think about it. He knows just what kind of pitch that we’re a sucker for and then throws it our way. But, it’s just a little higher or just a little bit more outside than where we like it, and most likely we’ll bite on it every time because it looks so good and it feels so right. But what’s the result? A big swing and a miss. A strike out that ends with us skulking back to the dugout wondering what went wrong.
Jesus said that temptations to sin will come. It’s not a matter of if you will face temptation, but a matter of when. It’s easy to become self-righteous when you see or hear of the temptations that others struggle with. To think, “if I were in their place I wouldn’t give in.” But the truth is that none of us here this morning has a perfect batting average against Satan when it comes to resisting temptation. Which is why Jesus asks us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
*** This post is a short excerpt from an earlier and longer one, re-posted in honor of this crazy World Series Game 7 ***