Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016 - Called to Peace; Not Called for Technicals!

I have spent the last few years in the sports world trying to use the competition platform (a microcosm of life) to teach principles of living that honor the Lord. For the one on God’s team (the believer in the finished work of Christ) I have written many times that my philosophy is “players play, coaches coach, refs ref, fans cheer!”

That philosophy has led to things such as my “No Palms” rule where I wouldn’t allow my players to turn their palms up to a ref to question a call. (It’s called being submissive to authority.) I’ve been accused at times of not being vocal enough toward the referees yet never thought my job is being the ref supervisor… I have at times reminded fans in our cheering section that they are supposed to be cheering… I have tried to live out the philosophy I preach.

Yet reality is that things are always easier to say than to do… especially when things get more intense or when fatigue sets in. It is a small switch between excitement and disappointment.

I often watch intense games and see players and/or coaches that simply cannot control themselves and end up hurting their team. One of the craziest I’ve seen was with a team that was actually ahead with a commanding lead and all the momentum going their way. The opponent had a guy drive to the hole and the ref called a foul on one of the “bigs” for the team that was ahead and he went nuts. With his teammates trying to shut him up he ended up drawing two technicals; resulting in being thrown out and the other team ending up with 6 free throws and a complete momentum change. It wasn’t quite enough for the opponent to come back and win but it sure made the game interesting as a blowout became a close game. There are consequences to how we react to adversity… this one guy literally went from excitement and elation to going berserk and an early exit to the locker room. He hurt himself and his team!

This all has been all too real to me lately as the intensity of “the game” of life has been amped up for me. I have had great moments as well as some incredibly low moments. I have faced a lot of nights of interrupted sleep and a lot of fatigue. In other words there are many times I have felt the “momentum” is on the opponent’s side… and my response needs to be not based upon feelings, fatigue, or frustrations but instead on the “game plan.”

It is easy to catch myself being more easily irritated at home, in the classroom, when shopping around rude people, when things break down, etc. And then…

I am reminded that “when the hour had come” (stress at its highest – momentum with the enemy) Christ still served… even washing His betrayer’s feet! (John 13 is such an awesome picture of the heart of God.) I know I have written recently, and done many devotionals about that passage, but I was reminded about it again today when in a different passage.

When the book of Colossians describes what the “new man” should look like it is abundantly clear that God desires that we be conformed to the image of Christ. Check out the description given in Colossians 3:12-15

                “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

It is so clear… we are striving to not be known as irritated, demanding, grumpy, frustrated, etc.!

Instead of being called for technicals we are called to peace!

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