God, help me make the team!

Many of you play sports. If not you understand the idea of being on a team, right? What does it take to be on the team?

1)      Try out

2)      Show up for practice and try hard

3)      Stay in shape, learn the plays & at game time…BRING IT!!

What about off the field, when you are not at practice or in a game? Does the rest of your life have anything to do with being on the team?

1)      diet?

2)      dating life?

3)      friends you go out with?

4)      What you do for fun in your free time, hobbies?

5)      The way you drive?

Consider the following examples.

Micheal Vick , QB for the Atlanta Falcons spent 23 months in prison for dog fighting. RESULT on the fieldà34 game suspension.

Adam “Pacman” Jones, Cornerback for the TN Titans attacked a stripper and threatened the life of security guard. RESULT on the fieldàentire 2007 season suspension.

Donte Stallworth, Wide receiver for Cleveland Browns, crashed into and killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence. RESULT on the fieldàEntire 2009 season suspension.

Ray Rice, Running Back for the Baltimore Ravens was convicted of 3rd deg. Aggravated assault of his girlfriend. RESULT on the fieldàindefinite suspension from league (eventually repealed).

 Now, I am not picking on these guys. We all make mistakes. I am no better than them. I am simply asking the question. Does what you do OFF the field have anything to do with what you do ON the field? Why were these men punished by the NFL? These crimes were not at practice or a game!

When you are drafted into the NFL, there is an extensive list of responsibilities and rules put upon you. Do you think these NFL rules are designed to limit or hold back the players? No. The rules are set in the best interest of the players and the NFL as a whole, to make the game better for everyone!

COACH knows, YES, what you do OFF the field affects what you do ON the field!

So often I put what I want before what the COACH wants.

God wants you to be in drafted onto His team, His kingdom. And even more so than the NFL, He requires that you give Him every part of your life! The magazines you read, the words you use, the music you listen to, the girls you are interested in, the friends you hang out with…Your heart, mind, soul and strength.

We have been studying 2Peter 1:5-9. In this scripture, Peter is describing qualities that a Christian should be developing. Today I am focusing on “Godliness.” The Greek word is eusebeia which means piety, well-reverent, holiness.

To be godly means we Love God so much that we desire to learn and then honor what God wants for our lives. Just like the NFL player. If the player truly loves their NFL Coach and team (and their multi-million $ paycheck) they will make sure they understand the rules & live in a way that honors the NFL Coach and team.

Many NFL players understand this and live it out. Tim Tebow, RG3, Colt McCoy, Russell Wilson, Ray Lewis are a few who are outwardly professing Christians. Check out this quote from Prince Amakumara.

"I am a virgin. I'm not ashamed to say that. (...) I grew up Catholic, so it just started out as one of those things. I’d think, 'If I do this, maybe I can get to heaven,' so I said no drinks, no sex, all the big things. As I grew up, I realized that’s not what it’s about. It’s about having a relationship with Jesus. It’s not about “Don’t do this. Don’t do that.”- Prince Amukamara (NY Giants Cornerback)

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that only Christian NFL players are good teammates. A Christian can make a mistake and use poor judgement like anyone else. I am simply making an analogy between being in the NFL and being on God’s team!

The Bible is not a list of rules made to hold you back from enjoying life. God’s desires for us are designed to be beneficial for us and everyone around us so that we may live a truly FULL life (John 10:10). We must hold God’s desires as more important than our desires or the world’s desires. God says HE will take care of our needs (Matt 6:33).

The main difference between joining a sports team and joining God’s team is that there is no try-out for God’s team. In fact, you are already offered a spot on the team with a full salary. You just have to sign the contract. Jesus gave His own life to make sure we had the opportunity to enter His kingdom, to be on His team.

It still takes practice to live on God’s team. That is what we are talking about here. Godliness is work, but it is nothing unreasonable. Things like prayer, reading God’s Word, using our bodies, time and money wisely to honor God and love others move us toward God’s desires for our lives. Anything worth doing takes a little work.

Check out the following two lists of qualities from Galatians 5:19-23. Listen and see which list best describes you.

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions

21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I want to be CLEAR about something. God does not want us to simply go to church or “be good”. He wants us to know that we are sinners and that we need Him to forgive us and trust that His Son, Jesus Christ, died to pay for our sins and then rose from the dead 3 days later. That will lead to godliness. In other words, godliness doesn’t lead you to Jesus, but Jesus will lead you to godliness...

Then you can live the life that Coach wants you and the rest of the team to live!