Sunday, October 17, 2004

Becoming a Championship Christian

Becoming a fruitful Christian is a lot like being part of a championship team.

The Resources at Our Disposal
We have the ultimate coach; He set the rules of the game and has been through, and won, the toughest possible competitions (Jesus). We have been a playbook that covers, at one level of specificity or another, everything we’ll face on the field (the Bible).

There is no better program. Effective use of those resources assures us a championship, but only if we use them well.

Developing Skills
How do we do that?

We begin by learning the basic plays—the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ teachings. We master them through regular study of those portions of the playbook, study that continues through our entire career as we become better and better able to understand their nuances.

But understanding plays isn’t enough; they must actually be run and run well. Indeed, they can't really be understood until they've actually been attempted. That requires constant practice and regular consultation with our Coach. The more we do this the better we get. Sure, there’ll be times when we don’t execute well, but our Coach is always willing to help us deal with, and learn from, those mistakes. They will become less frequent the more we study, practice, and work with Him.

As we become more experienced we realize that that there is more to the game than the basic plays. As essential as those fundamentals are, we must also learn the other, more subtle, points of the playbook to really be effective. We learn them the same way we learn the basics: continual study, continual practice, and continual consultation with the Coach. Again, we will never be perfect, but we will get better if we keep at it.

Playing Tough
It’s also crucial to remember that we have an opponent who does whatever it takes to win. That means that the games will be tough and that we’ll probably lose a few here and there.

But we shouldn’t despair over our losses. A game is not a season. Moreover, our Coach, who knows us intimately and has already beaten our opponent innumerable times, knows what it takes to win the championship and will give us everything we need to do so if we follow him through those tough times. Remembering our Coach’s many past victories, and drawing near to our team mates, will help us through these rough spots.

If we do these things the championship is ours, or more accurately, His.

(Images about God’s providing things we need, but can’t provide for ourselves, were posted September 12a and 18c, October 3, November 6, 10, 21 and 27, 2004 and January 2, 10b, and 10c, June 13 and 27, 2005.
Images about diligence/perseverance in doing God’s will were posted on October 1, 3a, 8, and 17 and November 7, 2004 and January 10c, June 11, 13, and 18; July 15 and August 27, 2005.
Images about the process of growing/maturing in our walk with God were posted October 3a and 17, 2004; May 11, June 11 and 18; July 20, August 21 and 27; and October 3 2005.
Images about prayer were posted September 17, 17a, and 17b; October 8 and 17, November 13 and 19, 2004 and May 27, 2005.)

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