Summary: When we are serious about daily deciding to Get In The Game for God, we can expect to see God work in our lives to bring about some wonderful exchanges.
Today we will conclude our consideration of the things that need to be true of us, as the people of God, if we are going to make sure that we “Get In The Game” for God and live lives that count for Christ. We said that we can know we’ve “Got Game” if we: Go for the gold; Aim for excellence; Make the commitment; & Expect God to work.
We’ve talked about “Going For The Gold,” living with “our eyes on the prize,” knowing that one day we will give an account of ourselves to Christ. We have talked about “Aiming For Excellence,” embracing God’s call to Christ-likeness and partnering with the Father in His work to make us more like Jesus. We have talked about how we need to daily “Making The Commitment” to live our lives seeking to know Christ better and to better make Him known to others.
Now, today, I want us to think about the need for us to Expect God to work. The Bible calls this “faith.” Without faith, I cannot “Get In The Game” for God.
“But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him.” - Hebrews 11:6 (CEV)
When you get right down to it, it is faith that motivates me to make sure I’ve “Got Game.” I mean, if I don’t believe that God is real and that He rewards those who seek after Him, then I won’t be motivated to “Go For The Gold” by living in such a way so as to be rewarded by God or to “Aim For Excellence” through Christ-like living, or to “Make The Commitment” of daily living for the Savior.
No, I am motivated to live in the way we’ve been talking about because I know God is real and He is alive, and He is active! Jesus promises us that God will work in response to our “Getting In The Game.” Notice what He says in verses 36-37:
“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” - Mark 8:36-37 (NIV)
It is important to emphasize that Jesus isn’t addressing the need for unbelievers to not reject Him as Savior and miss out on heaven. No, He is addressing the need for believers to not reject Him as Lord and miss out on the life God saved them to live here and now.
This is what He is referring to when He speaks of one “forfeiting his soul.”
“What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” - Mark 8:36-37 (The Message)
I want us to focus on the word “exchange” in verse 37.
“What can a man give in exchange for his soul?” - Mark 8:37 (NIV)
A pastor was asked to conduct a wedding ceremony. During the rehearsal, the groom pulled the pastor aside and made him an offer. He said “Look, I’ll give you $100 if you’ll change the wedding vows. When you get to me and the part where I’m to promise to ‘keep her, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others,’ I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave that part out.” He gave the pastor a $100 bill and walked away.
The day of the wedding arrived and they came to the part in the ceremony where the bride and groom make their vows to one another. When it came time for the groom’s vows, the pastor looked at the young man and said “Will you promise to bow down before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even so much as look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?”
The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, “Yes.” Then He leaned in and asked “What happened? I thought we had a deal!” The pastor gave him his 100 dollars back and said, “I’m sorry, but your bride made me a better offer.”
God has made us a much better offer than the world has! The world offers us “S.O.S.” - the Same Old Stuff. The world calls on us to live like we did before we met Jesus, as though we didn’t even know Jesus.
But Christ calls us to live life in a new way, on a higher level. He calls on us to exchange the old life for the new, to live an “Exchanged Life.” He calls on me to exchange my old rotten life for His pure, holy, righteous life.