iStock_000006401607XSmallThis training camp has been like none other I’ve ever been apart of. In my 11-year career this is the first time I’ve had to go away from my team facilities for training camp. Leaving my family in New Orleans for three weeks has been hard on all of us, but spending camp in West Virginia at the Greenbrier Resort has been quite an experience. Although NFL Training Camp doesn’t lend itself to leisure, the 10,000-acre resort has myriad activities to offer, from world-class spa treatments to off-roading, if and when we do get time off. When you add in the PGA tour and the fact that 26 presidents have stayed at the resort it’s easy to see the national appeal. What started as retreat for therapeutic pain management, through the healing powers of the local sulfur springs, has blossomed into what is now coined “Americas Resort.” The recent success and growth of the Greenbrier can be attributed in large part to West Virginia native, billionaire James C. Justice II, who purchased the hotel out of bankruptcy in 2009. As if resuscitating the ailing resort to health wasn’t enough, he put the cherry on top by bringing the first ever NFL training camp to the region.

Larger than life, in stature and personality, the 6’7” 350 pound Justice addressed the team halfway through camp.  As he lumbered up to the front of the room, wearing a green golf shirt (of course) and plaid sport coat, we weren’t quite sure what he would say and if it would resonate with us as men competing for a spot on an NFL roster. With all due respect, what does a billionaire CEO of over 40 companies know about the grind of training camp? Dwarfing the podium in the front of the room, Mr. Justice started off with a joke to break the ice, then delivered three essential keys for healthy and successful organizations. They are as follows.

  1. “The owners have to care for the employees and the employees must know this and in turn care for the owner. Like wise the employees must care for and love each other.” We all do our jobs better when we feel appreciated. Owners/Coaches set the appreciation thermostat in the workplace. Employees/Players will be more inclined to care for each other as well as management when they know their superiors care about them.
  2. “To get better we must admit when we do wrong and truly own up to it and change our actions. It’s not enough to just say, “I’m sorry.” Trust in the workplace is built when there is a change.” Like a crack in a windshield, an unresolved breach of trust can fester until it divides a team in two. Good teams are able to identify mistakes, receive correction and change behavior without offense. Moreover, good teams have players who WANT to correct their own mistakes so the team can function at the highest level.
  3. Lastly he gave a baseball analogy. “Suppose you’re an outfielder”, he said. “Your team is ahead by 1 run. The count is 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th. If you are hoping the batter does not hit the ball your way, you will never amount to anything. You MUST WANT the ball.” He assured us, “We all are afraid at times. But you must believe you can make the play.”

I think I speak for the entire team, when I say his words were exactly what we needed to hear, individually and collectively. The identity, camaraderie, character and trust that will sustain a team through a season are forged during the dog days of training camp. These keys are what keep teams healthy and functioning at the highest level. And while these proven keys will propel businesses and teams to success, on a more significant level, they will also transform families into the foundational yet world-changing units they were created to be. When I think about my life as a Christian, and my role as a husband and father, Mr. Justice’s words are, in many ways, a blueprint for success. Lets take a look at these three keys of love, trust, and courage from another perspective.

  1. I John 4:19,20 says, “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar.” God created us and loves us. He shows us His love by meeting our needs, forgiving us, sustaining us, protecting us, disciplining us, fellowshipping with us, and redeeming us through His Son. Our proper response is to love him back. We do that by worshipping him, obeying him, trusting him, acknowledging him, listening to him, and telling others about him. The ultimate proof of our love for him, though, is our love for our fellow man.

Ephesians 5 says it like this. Christ loves the church (his followers) and gave himself up for it. Likewise, husbands, sacrificially love your wives, continually striving to cultivate her spiritual and physical well being. Fathers, as head of your household, it is your primary duty to love your wife. Why? Because the “owner” (GOD) of the business in which you are employed (Life) loves you! And when your little employees see your love for their mother, they will follow suit and love each other as well.

  1. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

Through my life, I’ve learned that honesty is greater than the facade of perfection (most of the time the hard way!). Confession is the catalyst for healing in relationships while denial creates distance. This can be said of our relationship with our heavenly father, our spouse, our children or our close friends. Fathers, you are the chief disciplinarian in the home. No I’m not saying you are the only one who should spank Junior or send him to timeout, but the buck stops with you. That role is a double-sided coin though. You also should be ready and willing to admit, when you screw up. When you respond in anger, or do things you shouldn’t, you are provided with a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate repentance and discuss our need for Gods grace and forgiveness. The family will follow your lead and the atmosphere will be one of trust and growth instead of hypocrisy and pride.

  1. I admire the prophet Isaiah’s response to God’s call for action. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). I wish I could say I respond the same way when God asks me to do something, but fear and hesitation always seem to be lurking.

Sometimes we elevate the men and women in scripture to super human status. Through the power of God they did some amazing things, but many of them were terrified at the tasks they were asked to perform. Everyone wasn’t as eager to go and answer the call as Isaiah was. Moses was worried about his speech impediment and if the people would believe God had sent him (Exodus 3). Gideon doubted God could use him to save the Israelites until God proved it to him not once, but twice! (Judges 6) Jonah was so afraid to go to Nineveh that he went the other direction and subsequently was swallowed by a big fish…BUT God still used him. In fact God did great things through all these men when, in spite of their fear, they obeyed God. Then and only then did they “make the play.” Then and only then did they display true courage.

We all have fear and doubt. We doubt if we can be loving fathers, faithful husbands, or committed Christians (remember Peter?). The truth is, YOU can’t do any of these things alone. BUT because Christ has changed who you are on the inside, you CAN make the play in your marriage, as a dad, and in your Christian life. His spirit is within us giving us all we need do what everyone (including us) thinks we can’t. (2 Peter 1:3) He has made us courageous. Remember Satan is the father of lies and he would love nothing more than to fill us with unfounded disbelief and worry, keeping us from what God has for us. Is there something God is urging you to do, or someone you know you should spend time with? Are your relationships out of balance? Are you afraid to share your faith? Are you walking down the wide road because you’re afraid of the commitment and rejection the narrow road may bring? Have you shied away from your role? Are you afraid to be vulnerable before Him? Or maybe you’re afraid of being like the men in the Bible who courageously stepped up to the plate and chased God with reckless abandon.

As a football team, I hope we incorporate Mr. Justice’s keys for success into our DNA and that they propel us to new heights this season. As men, I hope we use these three keys to unlock the closed doors in our lives that separate us from our ultimate goal: becoming more like Him.

 

 

 

Coach Don Meyer

Coach Don Meyer

“Complacency is the forerunner of mediocrity. You can never work too hard on attitudes, effort and technique.” -Coach Don Meyer- former college basketball coach (over 900 victories)

Although I’ve never been a coach, I would bet that one of their hardest jobs is to guard their team against complacency. It is one of the few things that can destroy a team from within. In my experience a team that enjoys too much success or endures too much failure can be a breeding ground for complacency. On any team you will find guys who are just “happy to be here.”  They’ve made it to the NFL and they’re just happy to get a check and wear the cool sweat suits.  Sometimes they are the guys who have been All-Pro and sometimes they are the guys who bounce from team to team, never really finding a home.  In either case, they have been smitten by complacency.  Like a slithery snake, complacency sneaks into our consciousness and gradually changes our attitudes, which in turn changes our actions.

En route to an undefeated season in 2007, coach Bill Belichick’s warning to the Patriots grew stronger and stronger with each victory.  “Don’t allow success to make you complacent. We haven’t arrived,” he would say in so many words. “We have a long road ahead of us with many perils.”  He wanted to be sure that we kept the same total commitment and dedication to winning whether we lost every game or won every game.

If you’ve ever been on a long road trip, you know about one of the most important buttons on the vehicle (besides the passenger eject button): Cruise Control! There’s nothing better than setting that speed and taking your foot off the accelerator to rest those aching ankles. Not too fast, not too slow. Turn up the volume, zone out and enjoy the ride. It’s just the opposite in life. And it’s actually dangerous in the Christian life.

According to Revelations 3, Jesus sincerely dislikes complacency. Through the inspired writings of the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos, Jesus tells the church of Laodicea “ I know the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish you were one or the other!”

God knows our hearts. Our good works do not fool him. He knows if we are in cruise control, keeping up with the flow of traffic but not pressing the gas.  Jesus calls the Laodiceans “lukewarm.”  In essence, he calls them useless.  You can’t cook or clean with lukewarm water and it offers you no refreshment on a hot day. What purpose does it serve?  Jesus wants his followers to lead people to Himself. What message does a cruise controlling Christian send?  Because of this He says “I will spit you out of my mouth.”  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be spit out of anyone’s mouth.   Have you become lackadaisical in pursuing holiness, or prayer or Bible study? Have you compromised truth for the prevailing “wisdom” of the culture? Are you emotionally apathetic to things of God? Have you forgotten the awesomeness of his grace and the wretchedness of your soul? I know have at times.  Complacency doesn’t grow overnight. Revelations says the Laodiceans had become wealthy and self-sufficient but spiritually they were blind, naked and poor.  I pray that I never allow worldly success to take the place of the hunger I should have for Christ. There are many of us who Christ is about to spit out of his mouth and the sad thing is, we don’t even know it.   Many times our worldly riches give us a false sense of security. If all we have to our name are a bunch of “things’, we truly are poor, wretched, pitiful and blind before a holy God.

Be encouraged. There is a remedy. Jesus says in verse 18, “Buy gold from Me and become rich.  Buy white garments for your nakedness and ointment for your eyes so that you can see.”  Finally he says, “Be diligent and turn from your indifference.”   WHY? Because I LOVE YOU.  If I did not, I would just let you go. In other words, “ I have eternal spiritual treasures that I want you to have. Through me, you can have a right relationship with your Creator.  Through me, your present and future can be secure. So turn back to me, your first love.”

You see, we naturally become complacent.  We become busy with our jobs, consumed with family matters, and bound to our ambitions. But worse than busyness, some of us feel like we have “arrived.”  Truth be told our complacency is evidence that the burning need we once felt for Him has faded and we are content with where we are: saved and going to heaven. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great thing, but there is so much more. Just as I know and love my wife more now than when we first met, we should know and love Christ more now than when we first believed.

Like a marriage, or an NFL season, there will be ebbs and flows in our Christian life. The fire may not always be raging, but there should always be coals smoldering waiting to be stoked. Complacency is cancerous, quenching not only your fire but also that of those around you. That’s why coach Belichick gave his message so fervently.  We must be earnest, repent and chase Jesus diligently and purposefully whether we are on the mountaintops or valleys of life.

The letter to the Laodiceans ends with a familiar verse. Jesus says, “Here I am I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with me. (Verse 20)”

If you are in a season of complacency, understand that Jesus is knocking and has been knocking. I don’t know how long he will knock but I do know that His sheep hear his voice and will eventually open the door and let Him in. He promises to dine with us in intimacy and ongoing fellowship, here and throughout eternity. Jesus is the one who can jumpstart us out of our complacency. We just have to let him in.

Further Reading: Revelation 3

http://www.thebenjaminwatson.com/category/blog

Chair with Attached Veneer Desktop

Chair with Attached Veneer Desktop

Coach Dave Johnson is an interesting man to say the least.  The father of four played center at University of West Virginia and after a few coaching stops became my tight ends coach at University of Georgia in 2001.  From that point on our tight end room was a special place.  In a “bottom line” business, he cared more about his players’ souls then their stats.   In an atmosphere of Christian “lip service” he walked the walk.  He wasn’t perfect, but his heart was in the right place. His goal was to teach us football but more importantly to teach us integrity and how to become real men.

In our meeting room we each had our own chair with one of those attached rotating desktops. You know, the kind you pull up to sit down and then pull back down across your lap.  The chair was black plastic but the desktop was a light brown wood…or so we thought.  You see, the desktop had a layer of veneer.  It had the appearance of wood but underneath the thin layer was a core of particle board.   In this case, things were not as they appeared.  In fact, over time, the thin outer layer of wood started to peel back and we could see the true substance of the desk.

Coach Johnson would challenge us not live a life of veneers, but to live a life of integrity and truth.  He wanted us to be men who stood behind their word, who practiced what they preached and for that matter; knew WHAT to preach.  I’d love to tell you that we all took his word to heart and lived it 100 percent but I’d be lying. The truth is that whether we heeded his words or not, Coach Johnson planted seeds that were not soon forgotten.  His living example spoke louder than his words and non of us who passed through that tight end room left unchanged.

When God rejected Saul as king of Israel, he sent the prophet Samuel to anoint David as his successor.  When he arrived in Bethlehem, he saw Jesse’s first born son Eliab and thought “Surely the Lords anointed stands here.”  The Lord responded,   “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”  It is the heart that really matters to God.

I don’t know what Eliab’s personal life was like but I do know that every one around him thought he had it going on. He had the physical attributes that every man…(and woman) wants.  He was tall dark and handsome (probably like yours truly!).  He had all the PC (Pedestal Characteristics) the nation could want in a king.  He probably had a great resume amongst the other young professionals of his time. Yet God, instead of choosing the man with the square jaw and broad shoulders, chose the runt of the litter who was out herding his father’s sheep.  Young David was by no means perfect , but he had a heart that sought after God.

We spend so much time maintaining our outward appearance, building our reputations and cultivating peoples perceptions of us that we sometimes lose sight of what really matters. If  our hearts are spiritually anemic and cold,  what good does it do if we are perceived as the perfect Christians?  God sees our depravity and shakes his head as if to say ‘Who you think you foolin? I know you, I made you, I know your issues, I know your sin and you’re not alone..” Those of us in emotional pain hide behind expensive clothes and cars.  We put up a tough, aggressive façade when the truth is that we are weak and fearful beyond measure. Each of us has wounds but we put up veneers around our hurts that prevent true healing.  “Everything is fine” we say, when asked how we are doing, flashing a pearly white smile. I’m not saying that we spill our guts to any and everyone but many of us are starved for meaningful relationship, trust and intimacy. Deep down we yearn for unconditional love and acceptance. Rest assured you are not alone.  Whether your veneer is protecting a secret sin in your life or serving as a scab over a deep wound, only Christ can give you the confidence to face your truth and receive forgiveness or restoration.

Eliminating the veneers in our lives will happen as we grow from the inside out. When it’s all said and done, it’s our integrity of character that people will remember.  It’s our integrity of character that will lead the unbeliever to repentance.   It’s our integrity of character that God truly wants to use to glorify Himself.  It’s not easy, but our goal should be to become solid wood. That what others see on the outside is merely a reflection of what is truly on our inside. That the work of our hands and the speech of our lips reflect the beat of our hearts and the conviction of our soul.

Rest assured that like the peeling veneer, our true self will eventually be exposed for all to see.  As President Lincoln once said: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

And as I’m sure Coach Johnson would add,  “You can fool God NONE of the time!”

 

Further Reading: 1 Samuel 16

 

gato1

I once saw a commercial that featured athletes competing in their respective sports. As they jumped, ran, dribbled and tackled; orange, blue and sometimes yellow beads of sweat began to form on their brows and trickle down their faces.  In a full sweat now the camera zoomed in as they performed awesome feats of athleticism in slow motion, colored beads of sweat flying from their chiseled bodies. Thirsty from their workouts, they each grabbed bottle of Gatorade and refueled their bodies with the colored sports drink of their choice. The commercial ended with the familiar tag line “Gatorade, is it in you?”

The harder these athletes competed and the more pressure they endured, the more fluid flowed from their bodies.  They needed Gatorade to fuel their performance and as they lost it they had to replenish it by going back to the source.  If they neglected to replenish the lost fluid their muscles would become dehydrated, leaving them prone to injury.

What color do people see  flow from your “sweat” glands when you face a tough situation? When life is putting you through the ringer what calms your mind and body and brings you peace in the storm? The only thing that can come out of you is what is already in you. The true you will be exposed when the heat is turned up. How do we respond when we feel we are treated unfairly? What do we say when someone hurls insults at us? What do we do when we are faced with temptations? How do we respond to our failures or even our successes? Psalm 119:11 says, “ Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Along with the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we learn how to live our lives through Gods word. The more we have in our hearts the more Christ like we will be as we navigate life’s twists and turns.  We will be able to respond with joy instead of jealousy, freedom instead of fear, patience instead of pride, and humility instead of haughtiness.

So how do we get his word in us? First, we read it and meditate on it.  2 Tim 3:16,17 says, “All scripture is God breathed and is profitable for doctrine for reproof for correction and instruction I righteousness so that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  The Bible is God’s Word. It is our safeguard, our standard and our source for how we should live. Secondly we must communicate with God through prayer, praise and worship.  Lastly we must surround ourselves with people who speak truth into our lives. We become the company we keep, the things we read and the voices we listen to.

Our lives are like a commercial, except we are advertising something much more important than Gatorade.  And just like those athletes, we must continually replenish, refuel and rejuvenate our spirit by going back to THE source.  In life, our sweatiest times are often our greatest testimonies of the power of Jesus.  There is power in Gods living and active Word. Is it in you?

Further Reading: Psalm 119:1-16 , 2 Timothy 3:16,17

 

 

 

 

 Unknown

In 2001, The University of Georgia introduced Mark Richt as its new head football coach.    One of the first things he did as coach was implement a new motto for our football program.  The words “Finish the Drill” became the heartbeat of Georgia Football.  They were on t-shirts and posters; they even put them on the locker room walls. To become a great team, Coach Richt knew that we needed to finish everything we did. Finishing is what separates good from great.  Anyone can do just what is required of them, but the best, finish everything they do with effort and excellence. In the classroom, in the weight room and on the field everything we did was predicated on Finishing the Drill. From 5:45 am winter workouts to stifling two a days to the fourth quarters in the regular season, the words “Finish the Drill” (or FTD for short) reminded us to always strive for the perfection that would one day lead to a championship.

Finishing the Drill is not a new concept though. It’s a theme throughout scripture.  At the end of his life, alone and in a Roman prison, the apostle Paul inked these words to his young, disciple in the faith, Timothy; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”   Paul would leave this world confident that he would receive the crown of righteousness the Lord has promised those who are faithful to Him.  He wasn’t perfect or sinless but he ran the course God had laid before him with excellence. Thus he felt victorious when facing death.  Because of his faithfulness to Christ, Paul eagerly awaited being in the presence of his Savior and Lord.

Jesus is our ultimate example of what it means to finish. Before he gave up His spirit on the cross, He uttered, “It is Finished.”  Jesus came to finish Gods awesome plan of salvation. He came to pay the penalty for our sins. He glorified the Father by completing the work He was given.  Because he finished we can become new creations and live in freedom from the bondage that sin has on our lives. We can live life abundantly with no condemnation and spend eternity with Him because He finished!

My hope is that at the end of my life I too can say that I finished the drill, that I fought the good fight, that I kept the faith.  That I finished as a husband, a father, a teammate, and a friend. We have to take an honest assessment of our lives.  At this moment can we say that we have wholeheartedly run the race God has laid before us; that we have been obedient to His call on our lives? Our time on this earth is a blessing from God and he expects us to be good stewards of the time we have. There is no greater purpose in life than to know God and to make Him known.  There is no better way to do this then to finish the works he has given us to do.

Further Reading: 2 Timothy 4:7,8; John 19:28-37

My wife and I recently welcomed our fourth child into the world. Judah is the lucky brother of two sisters age 4 and 3, and a 1-year-old brother.  That’s right, 4 kids age 4 and under. (Pray for us).  There’s nothing like a new baby to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside. I love the way they smell. I love the look of discovery in their eyes as they take their first gaze at the outside world. I love to put my nose close to theirs and smell their sweet breath.  I even love their cool, slippery baby slobber. Babies are beautiful. Babies are oh so cute.  Babies are also helpless and thus, babies are a lot of work.  It’s amazing how advanced and, in some ways, easy my 3 and even my 1-year-old seem in comparison to Judah.

At some point in each of the last 3 pregnancies, reality would set in, and I would solemnly say to my wife, ”Babe, we have to go back to square one.”  We have to go back to diapers, sleepless nights, nursing (for my wife), bottles, crying etc.   Grace and Naomi are potty trained and Isaiah is on his way. They all eat, well, everything, and can talk your ear off.   It makes you a little misty thinking about how fast they grow up. But, you know, that’s what they are supposed to do.  God gave them to us as babies to raise them into young women and men. There would be a real problem if a 2-year-old were still crawling around on the floor eating baby food and drinking their mother’s milk. We’d take them straight to the pediatrician!

The Bible speaks of babies often to illustrate the development, or lack thereof, of a new Christian.  Just like Judah will grow and mature, new Christians are commanded to grow and mature in their faith.  There is a problem when folks have been saved for years, but are still spiritually immature, exhibiting no signs of growth.

1 Peter 2: 2,3 admonishes us to be “like newborn babies” and “long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it we may grow in respect to salvation.”   Like a nursing baby, a new Christian needs the milk of the Word to grow.  The Word of God is what helps the infant believer mature into adulthood. Each year doctors discover more and more on the benefits of breastfeeding. My wife nursed Grace, Naomi and Isaiah for a full year.  Did you know that human milk contains over 100 nutrients not found in artificial milk?  Or that babies who are nursed have a decreased chance of developing ear and respiratory infections? Or that adults who were breastfed as infants have a decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease or obesity?  It’s no wonder the Bible says  ‘milk’ is so important for the new believer. It gives him a foundation for growth, which will protect his new faith from corruption.  It gives him confidence that his conversion was true. And it gives him motivation to progress to deeper truth.  So what happens when you don’t  “long for the pure milk of the word?”  Growth is stunted! The writer to the Hebrews says, “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of Gods word all over again.”  Let that not be said of us!  .

 

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul called the Corinthian church carnal. There was envy and strife and divisions. They had begun to give devotion to the preachers of the Word instead of the keeping Christ at the forefront. Though they were Christians they were behaving according to their flesh.  He told them, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able.” In short, there was no growth.  He had to keep repeating the basics and they weren’t digesting what was being taught. They were stuck on square one.

How about you? Are you stuck on square one? Have you been a Christian for some time but feel no closer to God than before?  Do you cower when given an opportunity to share your faith?  Do you do think or say the same things you did when you first became a Christian, even though you know they aren’t pleasing to God? (I know I’ve had plenty of square one moments in my Christian life and I’m sure I will continue to.) Maybe your faith wavers much more than you would like. Understand that growth is growth. The Bible doesn’t say you have to grow slowly or quickly.  Just Grow!

How do you grow?  God’s Word. It’s our source, our light. Spend time with Him. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Communicate with God through prayer, reading and studying His Word, and singing worship and praise songs.  Surrender to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. Sometimes its best to just be silent before Him and listen to how his Spirit prompts your heart.  Repent and ask forgiveness for ongoing sin. These are essential when trying to breakthrough from certain strongholds.

We also grow in community with other believers. It is important to be involved in a Bible teaching church and to have a handful of close friends who can hold you accountable and encourage you in your walk. We grow when we share our faith with others. No matter where you are in your faith you have been commanded to share Jesus with those who don’t know Him. (Matthew 28).  He promises to be with you and He will give you the Words to say if you trust Him.

How do you know you’ve grown? You make decisions based on the Bible not the culture. You seek to honor God over yourself. You’re able to trust God when things don’t make sense. You can admit your faults and seek forgiveness.  You live as the new creation that you are, becoming more and more Christ like.  You have taken the basic truths that you know and put into practice in your daily life.

Like newborn babes, we are to grow up in the faith, maturing day by day.  Our goal is NOT to just grow old in the faith, accumulating earthly birthdays while remaining in spiritual diapers.  As we mature, it’s our responsibility to set an example and encourage those who are younger in the faith as we continue to grow ourselves.  If we allow him, God will mature us into the spouses, parents, friends and coworkers he wants us to be.

Even though adults don’t drink milk exclusively, milk is still important and offers us many nutrients we need. I benefit from the occasional glass of milk but as a grown man I’d rather eat steak, lobster and Etouffee any day! The basic truths of Scripture will always be of utmost importance to us as believers, BUT God has much more to reveal to us if we grow up and move past square one!

Further Reading: 1 Peter 2:2,3; Hebrews 5; 1 Corinthians 3:2

man_hamster_wheel_lg_nwm1

Professional athletes are no strangers to hard work. Perfecting their craft through hours of practice, weights and conditioning is what they do. NFL practices can be tough, especially the latter parts, as stifling heat, dehydration and fatigue become a factor.  Knowing this, our head coach will tell us, “Today at practice, I don’t want to be out there, just running plays.” In other words, if we are going to practice, let’s get better and not just go through the motions.  My former head coach put it like this, “Don’t confuse activity with achievement. Just because you go out to practice and break a sweat doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing anything.” There is a difference between a team moving collectively toward a goal and a bunch of guys doing football movements on a field and getting tired.  Though they may look the same to the casual observer, practice with the motivation to IMPROVE is vastly different from practice with the motivation to get DONE.  With time of the essence and a goal to reach, a professional athlete can ill afford to confuse the two.

Sometimes we confuse activity with achievement in our spiritual lives. With our days on earth numbered, many of us are searching for significance, love, acceptance, forgiveness and ultimately God’s “stamp” of approval.  We attend church, donate to charity, and live what we would consider to be a pretty clean life. Some of us even teach, preach and volunteer our time to serve the needy. We even go on missionary trips to foreign lands. These are all great things but they can never earn us the approval of a holy God. They are simply…good activities. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)”  Activities, outside of repentance and faith in Jesus, get us no closer to forgiveness of our sin, and right standing before God. However, doing good works BECAUSE of an existing relationship with Him, through his Son, is what we are made for! Like a team that’s just “running plays”, a life filled with Christian-like activities can never earn us our ultimate goal: knowing God.

There is but one way to the Father and eternal life. Everything else, though it may seem good in men’s sight, falls short.  Accept Gods grace first, and then let those good activities flow to the world BECAUSE of the eternal achievement you have already received through Christ! Don’t spend your life exchanging activity for achievement. Don’t spend your life “just running plays.”

Further Reading: Isaiah 64:6, Galatians 6:9,10

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,932 other followers