Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Put Me in Coach, Pt 3: The Super Bowl

It's finally here, Super Bowl Sunday! Millions of people all over the world will be watching the culmination of the NFL season. The players have been practicing for seven months. All of the previous games the two contenders have played; have been reduced to speed bumps on a road trip to this one day. At the end of this game there will be only one team that reached its' ultimate goal, becoming Super Bowl champions. Make no mistake about it, these players have only one goal this week, win the Super Bowl. For them, there is no other outcome that will justify the sacrifices they have made to reach this point.

One of the great things about sports is that the goal is so clear cut. Each game is a new opportunity to reach a goal. A seasonal goal is reached by focusing on the goal for each game. The results are easily measured, you win or you lose. Victory or defeat. That goal gives you a clear purpose and direction for each day because you are preparing to win. It helps you to prioritize how you spend your time. In order to reach that goal, you must be disciplined enough to stay on task and eliminate the things that might distract you. You have to be willing to give up things you enjoy because there is no time to do them. You must suppress the desire for instant gratification because winning never comes easy or quickly, it is the result of hard work and dedication

. The question then becomes, "Is it worth it?" Good question. If you have never played a sport, it might be hard to understand the tremendous satisfaction there is in reaching your goals. Winning a championship is a great feeling. It makes all the effort seem worthwhile. But let me tell you a little secret. That euphoric feeling that comes when you win a game or even a championship is very fleeting. It only lasts a short while. Oh, the memories last a lifetime and the sense of accomplishment is great, but there is always some emptiness when it is all over. Why is this true? I will tell you the same thing I would tell my players each year. Deep inside we know that there are more important things in life than winning games. In the end, the things we learn about hard work, discipline, sacrifice, love for our teammates are really more important than the actual results. They will last longer than the feelings we have after winning a game. However, you don't learn these things unless you dedicate yourself to the goal of winning. If you don't give it the best you have, you will not learn the important lessons that will help you be successful in your future endeavors.

Can you see where I am going here? As we have been talking about getting in the game, as Christians, we need to have a clear cut, ultimate goal and then figure out what short term goals will help get us there. If we, in the same way that an athlete does, dedicate ourselves to reaching these goals, we can then begin to eliminate distractions, prioritize our time, be disciplined in our behavior and have a real sense of direction and purpose. The apostle Paul understood this concept well. He wrote this in: "1 Cor 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Does all that sound familiar? Paul would have made a great coach!

The big question is, what is our ultimate goal as Christians? I think that some would say that their ultimate goal is salvation and getting to heaven. Sorry, that is not really a goal. It is a gift from God that we receive when we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ. It can't be earned. No amount of training or discipline in our lives will get us there. It is only by God's grace through faith that we are saved. OK, if not salvation, then what? I would submit to you that our ultimate goal is simple. We are to bring glory to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 1Cor: 6 19-20 says "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

In Matt 5:16 Jesus said "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." This then, sets the purpose and direction for our lives. It should guide all that we say and do. 1 Cor 10:31 says, "Therefore, whether we eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God". We can measure the success of what we have done with one filter; did it bring glory to God? I know that this sounds impossible, and in our own strength and power it is. That is why God sent His Holy Spirit to help us. To truly bring God glory in whatever we do, we must do it by the power of His Spirit. I urge you to make this the goal of your life.

I believe that if we could look back at our life and say we lived it in a way that brought honor and glory to Christ, then we certainly have won our Super Bowl! We can say with Paul "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing". (2 Tim 4:7-8). Remember, the rewards for winning this game are not fleeting, they are eternal. The greatest prize we could ever receive is to hear Jesus say "well done my good and faithful servant".

Game Plan: In order to bring glory to God, you must first know Him. This does not mean know about Him, it means to know Him in a personal and intimate way. This can only be done by spending time with Him. The more time we spend with Him, the more He permeates our lives. Do this in Bible Study, where God speaks to you through His word, and prayer where you can speak to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in your time of study and prayer. Follow His leading.

May God bless you as you make it your goal to glorify Him,













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