An “unforced error” in competition usually refers to something one participant does that has nothing to do with their opponent’s strategy, actions, or skill set. In tennis this could be a serve that faults: nothing the opponent does causes this to happen. Often, even great champions beat themselves more than a worthy opponent defeats them.
In the kingdom, a great deal of opposition targets the people God targets. The target of anointing observed by the enemies of God targets kingdom leaders for opposition. Leaders need not seek out an enemy, nor should they. As they move forward to fulfill their assignments, they run into opposition because God’s enemies become their enemies through their God-given assignments. hell opposes every purpose of God by opposing the people of God.
Unforced errors can occur in any leader’s life, and the unforced errors become opportunities for adversaries. There is a marked difference between a work of flesh and a work of darkness. The work of flesh opens the leader up to a work of darkness at an internal level.
In taking the offensive – which is always what leaders do – facing forward to fulfill assignment, fatal flaws open the way in and through our defense like “holes in your armor.” Practiced swings that produce errant serves simply leave us with no opportunity to advance while returning serve to the enemy; we fault and the enemy has opportunity to take the offensive.
Paul says, “Do not give the devil’s any opportunity.” The original word can refer both to time or place: “Don’t give the devil the time of day.” Or, “don’t puff up your pillow so your favorite demon can share you bed.” Or, “close every open door to the work of hell in your life.” Will the devil take opportunity to tempt and torment you? Yes! You don’t stop that anymore than Jesus did. Paul isn’t talking about ridding your life of the work of hell from the outside but the work of hell from the inside. “Don’t allow any door opening opportunities for the enemy through your own works of flesh.”
God isn’t attempting to rescue the devil, not working to redeem hell, or investing attention to the modification of hell’s activities and methods. God is rescuing you, working to redeem you, and investing heaven in the modification of your activities and attitudes to “seal’ your life from internal traitors to His call on your life. God is working on your unforced errors.
The enemy will work against you personally. The enemy will work against your kingdom alignment corporately, against the team in which God has placed you. The enemy will work against the culture in which you live or serve. The enemy gains access through open doors that provide him influence and some measure of control.
Simply put, not everything is the devil’s fault in terms of the root cause, but every unforced error becomes hell’s opportunity to establish a deeper work against God’s purpose and your life. Learning the difference between self-destruction and hellish destruction is rather fundamental. And, many people blame the devil for things that he had little or nothing to do with!
Unforced errors are like spiritually shooting yourself in the foot or stabbing yourself by tripping and falling on your own sword.
God is continually working the power of the Cross and Spirit into your life to redeem back the fatal flaws, close the open doors, and restore the integrity of your soul. Jesus says to His disciples near the end: “The prince of this world comes but he has nothing in Me.”
Jesus never committed any unforced errors! We can learn from His example how to avoid the fatal flaws.
Falling Into a Trap
Falling into a trap can be a forced error because it represents work of hell to trip us up or a trap into which we can fall. The term “offense” in the teachings of Jesus comes from the Greek word from which we get “scandal.” The term means “to fall into a trap.”
Perhaps, the unforced errors aspect of offense comes because of our intentional blindness, stubbornness, or rebellion, however, and the trap set becomes our downfall through our own intentional disobedience. It remains a trap designed and set by the enemy, but the unforced error of our work of flesh anger, pity, pride, lust, or witchcraft may have been the fatal flaw that made us vulnerable.
Unforced errors can take the form of insisting that the real world be unreal, not facing the obvious by denial, demanding that the universe change to fit our expectations, or even telling God He needs to do a better job of being God. These works of flesh create a personal bondage that trips us into the trap, walks us on the path where the trap is set, and blinds us to the camouflage the enemy sets to trip us up.
What does Paul say with the words concerning works of flesh? “Those that do these things [and other not listed that are works of flesh] shall not inherit kingdom.” I certainly hope Paul didn’t mean that people who do these things aren’t going to heaven because that would pretty much empty glory of any saints except those who didn’t think, talk, act, or breath. The conclusion that doing anyone of these behavior or the one’s not listed would close heaven’s doors – well, that isn’t what Paul is saying. People who consider kingdom to be something future put the problem of works of flesh into an end times setting unnecessarily.
Inheriting kingdom speaks of a spiritual kingdom portion received because we are born anew and see and enter kingdom through that experience. We lose or forfeit that kingdom portion to the enemy because our fatal flaws give him permission to usurp that portion of the kingdom for which we are responsible, made available to us by kingdom assignment. The battle for that kingdom portion is lost through our unforced errors. We beat ourselves.
Paul says in Ephesians 5:5 that an idolater obviously doesn’t have a kingdom inheritance portion or share. The language says “You know very well or surely” as we would say, “Of course, you already know because it is obvious” that a person with allegiance to another king doesn’t have a kingdom portion in King Jesus’ realm. They are functioning in a different kingdom here and now. That is, the kingdom you are in, in which you have an inherited portion is determined by who is boss of your life and how your behavior is consistent with the culture of that kingdom. Kingdoms have protocols.
“Walk in the spirit and you won’t fulfill the demanding desires of flesh [sarx, not soma, not the physical body but the soul.] The kingdom is spiritual and kingdom people function SpiritFirst. The way to live without unforced errors is to function by the power of Spirit.
Unforced errors are offensive miscalculations and dysfunctions; more than something not present, they are dysfunctions of spiritual skills that occur through distractions and spiritual weakness.
Unforced errors come when we are offensively engaging the establishing and expanding of kingdom, and they push us back from that advancement, take us out of the game, and sideline us from receiving and possessing our kingdom share.