Summary: Christianity can become a lot like a Major League Soccer game; there are thousands of people in the stands watching, and only 11 out on the field doing all the work.
Get in the Game
There is something exciting about watching MLS on TV. There is something even more exciting about watching World Cup Play on TV, with thousands upon thousands of screaming and chanting fans, waving their countries flags, dressed in their countries colors, and throwing confetti and streamers onto a field that cost a million dollars to produce. This is pure adrenaline driven excitement, all out for a common goal, all-working together. This is the ultimate sports excitement. Not even the Super Bowl, World Series, or WWF Raw compels such devotion in fans and camaraderie among strangers who share a common vision and love of the game.
In some aspects Christianity is a lot like major league soccer. There are 11 players on the field doing all the work, and thousands of people sitting down and watching. Now, in soccer fans can’t exactly climb out of the stands and onto the field and start playing, though this has been know to happen in Brazil. But God’s game plan for us is a little different, he wants us to climb out of the stands and get in the game.
What good can each of us do on the field with all these great players who have been working on God’s team for so long and are so talented? We all have our talents, more precisely; we all have talents that have been given to us by God to be used for His glory in the short time that we are able to be on the playing field.
Some may have a checkbook that helps administer the necessities of God’s Word in ministry, others have the ability to build and construct, others have the ability to lift up God’s people in worship through the music that they play, some have the ability to teach and preach thereby taking God’s Word and feeding others to help them better understand, some have the ability to listen to others needs (regardless of what their own personal needs are at the time), some have the ability to show kindness and compassion thereby administering the greatest of all of Jesus’ commands- to show Love.
“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39
To be effective in a professional, or 8 year old, soccer match-up, you have to have a Game Plan. No team has ever won a World Cup without a lot of practice, dedication, understanding of the game, knowledge of the opponent, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, and having a game plan given to the players that they understand and can follow through on.
We, as Christians, are much like these soccer players. We have been given a game plan by the Greatest Coach, prescribed to the apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy, chapter 1 verse 5.
“The goal of this command is Love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.”
We are called as believers of Jesus Christ to spread the Good News and be Disciples of Christ. There is a lot to do in that capacity, which is on the playing field of life, but here is our game as Christians. There will be a lot of practice later on (book of James) to prepare us in our workout through the acts and works we show toward others and the words we use while on the playing field. But we have the game plan outlining 3 skills that we must possess before we are ready to be put in the game. If we are not ready, we can’t play, or at least we won’t play to the level that we need to be playing at. So let’s look at these 3 areas and gauge where we are, and how we can get better before we are called to get in the game.
· Pure Heart
o What do you think of when you hear a “pure heart”?
o How do we strive to maintain a pure heart?
o Matthew 5:8 states, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”.
· Good Conscience
o What creates in us a clear conscience?
o Hebrew 13:18 states, “Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.”
· Sincere Faith
o “Sincere” means ‘without hypocrisy or masks’. Hypocrite was term used for actors who changed their facial expressions by changing their masks to reflect different emotions. It was someone pretending to be what he was not.
o How do we possess sincere faith?
o What does this look like to others who know us?