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Every coach, whether offense or defense, wants their player to have hands inside when engaged. This desire stems from a knowledge of physics and leverage. The coach’s desire is for their player to be productive in the game of football. Simply stated, it’s the best way to play in order to be successful.
God has a similar desire for our lives. He wants us to do things the best way. He gave us a playbook to follow called the Bible. The Bible has instructions for every situation and every component of life…physical life, thought life, spiritual life, emotional life and perhaps most importantly eternal life. What a gift to have a Coach who always tells us how to do things the best way.
To really know someone, we must spend time with them. Seeing how one responds and reacts reveals character and nature. Having dialogue similarly provides insight. All relationships require communication to deepen. Coach Hoza, his staff and the Calvary Christian Academy football team began reading through the 260 chapters in the new testament at the beginning of spring practice. Each morning one chapter is read providing God a chance to speak to each member of the program.
God has a distinct advantage in His relationship with us. He knew us before we were formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), knows every hair on our head (Matthew 10:30) and knows the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Even still God desires to hear from us in prayer. He tells us we should always pray (Luke 18:1) and to let Him know about everything (Phil 4:6). The Eagles begin and end practice with prayer. Who prays more during practice – players, coaches or trainers – is much debated.
Ever had someone you know go forward at church? For those already following Jesus, perhaps nothing is more rewarding than seeing a brother or sister surrender to the God of the universe. To see someone we love stop fighting.. accept God’s calling… allow God to start making decisions for them… give God the position of “Lord” in their lives… and stop constructing a God of their own… WOW! And for those occasions when we see God actually used us in the process…how humbling.
Jesus was not just a good and wise teacher – He left no room for that option. Consider His words: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6) “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) Jesus was either a lunatic or He was God in the flesh.
The decision to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of our life is unquestionably the greatest anyone can ever make. The choice guarantees heaven as our eternal destination and establishes the bible as our operations manual for life. But why do some people make this once-in-a-lifetime decision over and over again? Could this change be just an intermittently stirred emotion? Just a passing feeling brought about by a well-delivered sermon?
Connecting the Spiritual and the practical can be difficult. Reality is, we can be certain we know God when we keep His commands (1 John 2:3). Where we try yet fail, the grace offered by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross covers us. Where we repeatedly ignore God however, there is no blessing. When we truly experience salvation, we seek to know God and become more and more obedient to God’s voice and the instruction in His Word – without “trying” all that hard. We allow God to Lord over our decisions. We choose the path He tells us to travel. When this is not the path we have been traveling, we expect the new route will be unfamiliar and initially uncomfortable. We also realize retreating to our comfort zone would simply take us to the place we have determined not to live anymore.
Whether motivated by a courageous Spirit or the fatigue of living in our own strength, leaving feelings and emotions behind, and practically applying/inserting the Lord of our lives into the next personal, social or professional decision we make is new…it’s fresh…and it represents Real Change.
Under Armor’s Protect this House ad campaign resonates with every athlete. We do everything in our power not to compromise the home field. In our faith walk, our mind is the “House” needing protected (Romans 7:25). With our mind, we are slave to the law of God. Not so with our flesh, which is slave to a lazy, cowardly, sinful nature. The gospels of both Matthew and Mark remind us the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
To operate in the omnipotent power of God, we must protect the home field and govern what enters our mind. 2 Cor 10 counsels us to “…take captive every thought.” Intentionally controlling the information, conversation and thought we entertain, limits opportunity for our opponent to gain traction, establish a foothold, have any success for that matter in our house - the temple of the living God.
We are bombarded with information from which our minds need protected. Should we retreat to “holy huddles” and seclude ourselves from our adversary? No way! This is not God’s calling nor is it even possible in this world (1 Cor 5). The way to protect our House is by not allowing what the world does or says to distract from what God is doing in and through us. Until we are called home to heaven or Christ returns, we must live in this world. We do not however have to become of this world. Elevate your mind. Give your every situation, conversation and decision the home field advantage. Anything that is not true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable or morally excellent should occupy no part of your mind. We must Protect this House!
For so long I understood this passage to say – what someone wanted – God would provide – just delight in Him. If a mate was desired…God would find one. A football scholarship… God would work out an offer. A new job… God would open the door to walk through. Maybe the desire was selfish; maybe borderline sinful…but if desired in the heart, God would grant it. The disconnect was plain and apparent. I just didn’t see it.
God is not going to give me MY desires. If I will delight in God, He will then put HIS desires in my heart! Selfish desires…not likely. Borderline sinful…no chance. God is not going to put desires in your heart for sinful things, selfish things, or anything which does not bring Him glory and represent His best for you. But a mate, a football scholarship or a job in ministry doesn’t sound selfish or sinful. Not at all. But is it God’s desire for you? Is it the best for you right now?
God’s thoughts about us each day are more numerous than the grains of sand on the seashore (Psalm 139). As much time as we spend thinking about ourselves, God thinks about us more. We think we know what would be best, but He simply knows better. When we delight in the Lord, what we desire becomes about God and his perfect plan and purpose for our life. Perhaps the desires may stay the same, but they are no longer our desires fashioned for our purposes, they become the desires of a loving father placed in our heart! What a Savior!
Hello leaders. For those of you out there who are graduates of the Counter Culture Sports Leadership Camp, I just wanted to give you a shout out.
Know that you are being prayed for, and consider that everything you do in school at home and on the field matters. Please remember the leadership lesson we reinforced with the foam footballs: WE REPRESENT AT ALL TIMES! (Psalm 106).
May you be blessed as you prepare for Friday’s game.