I have to admit, I have been an avid fan of NBA basketball ever since I was a teenagers and watched the Bulls during the Jordan/Pippen dynasty. I would rush home to watch the Bulls play their games. If I didn’t make it home in time I would have it on the radio in the car as I was driving…sometimes the radio stations would go in and out as we traveled. I was a die-hard Bulls fan.
The NBA finals are electric and the crowds really rally around their home team. I remember Michael Jordan playing through the flu to win a crucial game against the Stockton/Malone duo of the Jazz (the Bulls would go on to win the championship that year). How fanatical I would be as I sometimes screamed at the television as if they could hear me. I was cheering on my team. I was cheering on my basketball heroes.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I love to watch professional basketball. The reason I do is because of the drive many of these NBA players have to win a championship. Last night I Watched (while I cleaned) the Golden State Warriors take on the Cleveland Cavaliers and win the championship. This year was just another epic journey of athleticism and passion to be the best. Another reason I love to watch this fast-paced sport is because of the drive for perfection. It’s a pressure sport. There exists upon that court a pressure to perform at such a degree that to fail could define a career.
When some of the greatest players take the stage, we cheer and we pull for them to perform impossible feats in order to bring home the victory…this got me thinking – In order to be a champion one must have a drive to excel.
They must also push beyond any pain they are experiencing so that they can succeed. True champions must strain, bleed, push the limits of endurance and sometimes face pain in order to win. What do they win? Accolades? Trophies? Riches? Fame? Glory? A better future? -All of the above.
So what could a pastor possibly be getting at in this meandering pondering today?
Perhaps there is something here for us as well to glean.
The Spiritual Athlete:
How far do we go in order to seek holiness?
Do we have a desire to overcome sin in our lives?
Is our desire to be the very reflection of Christ in every possible way?
How far have we yet to go in order to achieve our hopes and dreams as Christ-followers?
Yes, it is with the Holy Spirit’s help, but we have a role to play in this as well.
We must be diligent.
We must be faithful.
We must desire transformation through holiness.
1 Corinthians 9:24-26 says this;
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control,[b] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
I still love these athletic heroes of mine.
In them I see the drive to excel.
In them I see the drive to be the very best that they can be.
I recognize the discipline that is needed of this spiritual body.
We still have much room to grow and develop.
Our lives are not our own, but we have become the very extension of Christ in this world.
It is a great responsibility and yet the eternal rewards far surpass any sport accolades and championship trophies. We are called to this higher calling. I takes endurance. It takes discipline. It takes determination.
I don’t know about you, but I won’t settle for riding the bench.
I want to a starting position in this spiritual race.
It’s not about being better than anyone. It is about being who Christ has called me to be.
It is about being who Christ has called you to be.
Let’s get in the game!
Let’s push beyond our old selfish lives and strive for something so much more worthwhile.
To Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, I say a job well done!
To you my fellow Christ-followers, I say let’s do this…we were called for this…He is equipping us already to do this amazing feat of holiness.
Something more to ponder today!
To God be the glory!