I’m a college football fan. Well, really I became a big fan this week. So here’s how it all happened…..I have always been an Ohio State fan because I was born in Ohio. This past Monday night the Buckeyes played Texas in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. So I decided to move past simply wearing my OSU jersey and actually sit down and watch the game. Now my family can tell you that usually football just doesn’t hold my attention, but Monday night was different. I watched the game with enthusiasm and screamed at the TV just as much as any age-old football dad does! My team didn’t end up winning, but I was excited. I had moved off of the sidelines and into the game. I wasn’t just modeling an Ohio State jersey in Florida anymore. I had truly become a football fan. I moved from complacency to genuine authenticity!
After my first real game on Monday, I began looking forward to the College Football Championship. I live in Central Florida and let’s just say that the Gators are a BIG DEAL! As my entire school got ready to watch the big game, I decided to watch it too–hey, if UF isn’t playing Ohio State I am all for the Gators! On Thursday I watched the entire game–beginning to end and loved every second of it! It felt so good to move away from apathy and to really get into the game. I loved watching the intensity and determination in the players. The Gators and the Sooners had worked all year long for this game and you could tell just by looking at the seriousness in their eyes. There was no playing around in this game. Tim Tebow really impresses me. His ardent love for Jesus Christ is so obvious in everything that he does. He strives to give the glory to God in everything that he does–both in football and life in general.
We could learn so much from this picture of Tebow giving the glory to Jesus. I think maybe this is one of the reasons I am becoming a true college football fan. There are so many correlations between my walk with Jesus and football! Just look at what happened in my own life this past week. I moved off the sidelines and into the game! Just like a football player getting in the game, we too need to get in the game spiritually. We have had enough of “closet Christians.” Why are we so afraid to step out of the “me, me, me” mindset that we live in and jump into a life that points only to Jesus? It’s hard changing habits, but it is possible. Romans 12:2 says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
How can we get off the sidelines and into the game?
- Place your life in Jesus Christ’s hands.
- John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
- Jesus Christ died for you. Please let that sink into your heart. The God of the Universe sent His only Son to die specifically for you. But death couldn’t stop Jesus’ love for you. He rose back to life just to have a relationship with you. If you accept Him into your life you will spend eternity with your Maker. Doing good things and knowing all of the books of the Bible will not get your into Heaven. Jesus Christ is the only way. All you have to do is ask Him into your heart.
- Romans 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
2. Let Him write the playbook for your life.
- Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
3. Choose to stand up for Jesus Christ and follow His game plan.
- Luke 14:27, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
4. Celebrate with Hope in what Christ is doing and will do.
- Psalm 25:5, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
- Psalm 9:1-2, “I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.”
5. Get in the Game!
- Get involved in a local church. If you live in Central Florida, check out Church of Hope. There are so many amazing churches in the Ocala area, but something truly amazing is happening at Church of Hope.
- Take time to review God’s game plan daily. Get your own Bible and study it. There is nothing more refreshing than filling up with Jesus’ words to us! One of my favorite versions of the Bible is Eugene Peterson’s The Message Remix.
- Talk to your head coach! A football player is in constant communication with his coach. We need to be in constant communication with our Head Coach, Jesus Christ. Talk to Him about everything–both big and little!
- Spread the word! Players and fans do not remain silent about their team! Tell everyone around you about Jesus Christ!
I challenge you today to get off the sidelines and get in the game. You only get one chance at life. God has made you who you are for a specific purpose right now exactly where you are. How are you getting off the bench and sprinting towards the end zone for Jesus? Are you wallowing in complacency or moving to genuine authenticity? The choice is yours……it just requires you to make that first step.