A Common Enemy

A few weeks ago, while attending a super amazing debrief and life coaching retreat with girlcatchfire, it was suggested I take a “saboteurs” analysis, based on research performed by Shirzad Chamine, to identify the ways I self-sabotage .  Chamine says, “These Saboteurs are your internal enemies.  They are a set of automatic and habitual mind patterns, each with its own voice, beliefs, and assumptions that work against your best interest.”

The idea is that the right side of our brain is constantly at work to “protect us” but unfortunately, it often gets so carried away it ends up doing more harm than good.  It assesses situations based on previous experience and fear and feeds into those emotions.

Personally, I saw this quiz as putting a face on the lies Satan tells me.  Right brain, left brain, who knows?  I do know that Satan is the father of lies and all these “voices” and “warnings” are lies he has disguised and embedded deep within my soul.  He knows what works on me and sticks with those same things to continually wear me down.


But first, let’s take a minute to talk about Satan.

(The following definitions are taken from the Lexical Aids to the Old and New Testament in the NASB Key Word Study Bible and the numbers are from the Stong’s Concordance)

Sâtan (7853) is actually a Hebrew verb meaning to attack, to accuse, to be an adversary.  The Greek noun is Satanas (4567) – an adversary; the one who casts either himself or something between two in order to separate them; the false accuser.  The other name given to Satan in Greek is Diabolos (1228) – devil, one who falsely accuses and divides people without any reason.  This is his name because he was cast out of heaven for falsely accusing and slandering God.  (These events are explained well in this article from Christianity Today).

Satan is a physical being.  He was once an angel.  He is the father of lies.  He is actively accusing and attacking the children of God.  He is putting himself in the middle of relationships to separate us from one another and from the truth and love found in God.

Know your enemy!!


Okay, now that we know who we are fighting against, let’s go back to his strategy.  Chamine proposes there are 10 saboteurs, and people commonly struggle with two or three of them.  Or from my perspective, there is a pool of ten lies that Satan picks from to really make me useless.


According to Chamine, everybody suffers from, what a good friend calls, “Judge Judy” (love ya, PH).  His research has shown that we all have an internal judge inside that can manifest in different ways but whose voice is the ring leader of the other lies.  We judge our selves or others or circumstances, or a combination of all three.

For me, Satan (in the voice of Judge Judy) whispers things like “these people don’t really care, they are just being polite” and “you are annoying your friends by needing them” or more commonly, “nobody wants you around” and “you’re alone and always will be.”  The sad thing is, I usually believe it.  We all do.

However, there is comfort in knowing a) it is a lie but more importantly b) other people hear the same voice, saying the same things, feeding the same common lies.  In his book, Chamine says, “Many said they felt a huge weight off their shoulders because for the first time in their lives they had realized that their inner torment was commonly shared.”

Guess what, we’re all in this together, so now its confession time…

My other saboteurs, Judge Judy’s deputies, are hyper-vigilant, victim and avoider.  I don’t like seeing this.  I don’t like to admit to myself that I’m an avoider (I’d much rather ignore it) or that I’m always concerned about what’s going on around me (because I just care about you too much to let you do that really stupid thing that will probably kill us both) or worst of all I’m a victim (because I’m clearly not, people just never believe me or understand me).

Yeah, I guess I am all these things and I’m admitting it here because we all suffer from one saboteur or another so why not just own up to it, flush it out and fight back.

Yes, we all struggle but we don’t have to live with these lies any longer.  Yes, we can take comfort in their commonality, but Christ has defeated Satan and he no longer has power over us.  However, just because the victory is already won doesn’t mean the daily battles are over.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God…”

Ephesians 6:12-13a


We are called to put on the armor of God.  Armor!! As in knights on horses or GIs in bullet proof vests.


Secondly, we are not in this fight alone.  We are to “encourage one another daily…so none of [us] may be hardened by sin’s [Satan’s] deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13).  We are to spur one another on (Hebrews 10:24).

We need to say to one another “Rise up.  This matter is in your hands.  We support you, so take courage and do it.” (Ezra 10:4)

Yes!! This is community!!

Know the enemy.  Familiarize yourself with his attack.  Be prepared.  And never fight alone!


Shirzad Chamine’s saboteurs assessment




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