Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013 - Don't Be A Perimeter Pansy!

Way back in my playing days there was one part of my game that I took particular pleasure in… I loved to draw the contact and still finish strong at the rim; I loved the old fashioned 3-point play (of course most of my playing days didn't include a 3-point line.) I loved the battle that took place in the paint!

There was just something about knowing I could take a hit and still finish. I am sure with the passing of the years I may have clouded memories (legend-in-my-own-mind syndrome) but I do know that I experienced some decent success when playing against bigger opponents. I am not a big guy in basketball terms; so I loved it when I got the better of the “giants.”

I must admit that this is on my mind due to irritation. I cannot stand to watch weak play. It just seems to be a lost art to take the contact and finish strong. I typically am not the fan that screams at the TV when I think the refs have blown a call; yet I often find myself blurting out “Finish strong!”

The reality of the game is that when you go into the lane you know you are going to get hit. A player has to be prepared for that and still focus on reaching the goal. And this is not just geared at the “bigs”; I think that the best guards are those that can penetrate the lane and still get the job done – those that are not just “perimeter pansies.”

And since we are talking the reality of the game let’s move on to the reality of life: for those Christians that choose to engage in the battle – to get into the lane where the action is – there will be contact; you are going to take some hits. You will have to determine if you are going to focus on the hits or on the goal. You will have to determine if you are going to take a woe-is-me attitude or “fix your eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2) You will have to choose if you are going to be a “warrior in the paint” or a “perimeter pansy.”

I am screaming at my computer screen now: “Finish strong!”

The Apostle Paul took a lot of hits in his Christian life. (See 2 Corinthians 11 for an auto-biography of Paul’s struggles.) Yet when the game was almost done he wrote some things in his second letter to Timothy that are of great importance; he looked back at his “playing days” and said the following:

·         2:1 he tells Timothy to “be strong”
·         2:3 he tells Timothy to “endure hardship”
·         3:1 he tells Timothy “perilous times will come”
·         3:12 he states that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution”
·         4:5 he tells Timothy “be watchful in all things, endure afflictions…”

Sounds like Paul knew something about the “game of life”; it involves a lot of “contact in the lane.” He is in essence telling Timothy “draw the contact and still finish strong at the rim!”

And when Paul looked back at his own life he could confidently state: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (4:7)

Are you a spiritual warrior or a spiritual pansy? It is time to “Finish strong!”

Next week: I plan to talk about how to prepare to “take the hits in the paint”…

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