Paul often used sports to help explain a point about his/our faith. He especially spoke of running and boxing. The reason for this is that the discipline seen to be successful as an athlete is also needed to be a successful servant of God. I imagine, if Paul were alive today he might not speak of running or boxing. He would likely take analogies from sports we here in America have latched on to. He would likely speak of baseball or football. Since football season is now underway, I wanted to share with you some lessons I think Paul might have encouraged us to learn from football.
It Takes Years of Preparation
The dream of every boy that plays football is not only to put on that helmet for his favorite team, but to play in the Superbowl itself. But, the chances of actually playing in the Superbowl are slim. There have been numerous hall of fame worthy players that never even played in the game, let alone actually win won. To get there, it takes years of preparation. These athletes watch what they eat. They train their bodies. They take care of little injuries, let they become big injuries. They seek out the best trainers and coaches in hopes that that coach can coerce out of them their very best. Likewise, the Christian needs to make proper preparation in order to enter his Superbowl (that is heaven). We have to be mindful of what we fill our hearts with. If you think on worthless things, it won’t be long until you are engaging in worthless things. But, if you dwell upon holy, lovely, and good things you will find yourself shaped by them (Phil. 4:8). We also have to be mindful of little “injuries” to our faith. What might seem small and insignificant now, if not dealt with properly will quickly escalate out of control and we will find ourselves drowning in our own sins. And we would do ourselves a world of good surrounding ourselves with others that encourage us to be holy. I Cor. 15:33 warns us of the dangers of bad friends. The opposite also holds true. Surround yourself with those that want to see you in heaven and they will help you to get there.
You Have to Game Plan for Victory
Ask any coach and he will tell you that if you fail to plan what you are really doing is planning to fail. (or something to that affect). Coaches and players alike spend countless hours in the film room watching their games, looking for what needs improved. They watch hours of game film for their upcoming opponents in hopes of finding a weakness to exploit. They don’t just want to succeed. They make a plan of attack to assure that they will succeed. If we hope to be a spiritual success in this life, we are going to need to stop trying to go through life hap hazardously. We need to start making preparations for the return of our savior. In Matt. 24-25 Jesus gave us several parables about preparation. In each of these parables the underlying theme was that now was the time to prepare. If we wait until the hour of our departure to get ready, we are going to find ourselves without a home in heaven. If we wait until we are on our deathbed to make a game plan to heaven, we are risking our very future.
There is Only a Limited Amount of Time
Baseball is not like football. Baseball theoretically could go on forever. (Some games certainly have that feel). Sure, there are 9 innings, but there is no time stamp. Some innings may be a quick 1-2-3. Others could go on for 10 or eleven batters facing 10 pitches each. You just never know. Football on the other hand has a time. It is constantly counting down the end of the game. Even more frightening is overtime. Yes, there is a clock. But the game could end at any moment. All it takes is for someone to break loose and get into the end zone. A team’s fortune’s can change that quickly. Our time on earth is a lot like overtime in football. We know that it is going to end someday, we just don’t know when. As Christ himself said, it will be as it was during the days of Noah. People will be living their lives, buying, selling, and getting married. Then the end comes. For many they will be surprised. But, the Christian shouldn’t be. He shouldn’t be surprised that at any moment God would send his son because he knew it was coming. He knew it was happening.
Grinnell church of Christ
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