It’s tourney time and so fun to watch all of the dynamics of play. Today as we tuned in for part of one of the Elite Eight games my friend commented about how “tight” one of the teams seemed to be as the game headed down the stretch. Throughout the tourney I have heard commentators talk about teams that seem really loose verses those that are playing “tight.” I often have watched players that struggled because they knew that their coaches had them “playing on a short leash” and would jerk them out of the game for any little thing they did. (In fact I spoke with one former player recently and we talked about how hard it is to play when the coach doesn’t trust you or believe in you… and how it drains the joy out of playing.)
Believer, let me remind you that you are “FREE” in Christ. You can serve God knowing that He is on your side! I truly believe that the Apostle Paul’s lifestyle did not change dramatically from when he was Saul (other than the persecuting Christians thing…) What I mean is that Paul continued living a clean wholesome life but found that his motivation was no longer that of religion (man trying to earn God’s favor), but instead his motivation was God’s amazing grace that leads to relationship (celebrating that we have found God’s favor through Christ!) There can be, and should be, joy in serving Christ!
I love the way that Paul tells it in Galatians chapter 2 (with the help of Pastor Peterson’s paraphrase in the Message):
19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
Play loose! Play with joy! God is on your side!