It was game 5 of the NBA finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. It also happened to be June 16th – Father’s Day. The series was tied at two games each and becoming more physical, more intense. During a time-out Greg Popovich, the coach of the Spurs utter one of the classic lines of the series – This game is a big-boy game. His message to the players was, stop complaining to the refs, play physically, play with intensity. This was the finals, not a pick-up game and they should expect it to be a hard fought battle. Time to put on your big boy pants and play like a man (thanks Daniel Darling for that quote).
That’s a great analogy for the Christian life – the Christian life is a big-boy game. It’s time to put on your big boy pants and play like a man! To put it in Pauline language, gird up the loins of your mind (1 Peter 1:13).
That means the Christian life won’t be easy – it will be hard. The images of the Christian in the New Testament all stress hardship – the farmer, the soldier, the runner, the wrestler. Stop asking God to make it easy. He’s already told us that it won’t be.
The opponent that you are playing against doesn’t follow the rules; he cheats every chance he gets (John 8:44); he throws elbows (and missiles – Ephesians 6:16); he won’t back down and he intends to defeat you in your spiritual life (1 Peter 5:8).
If you go about your Christian life with a casual attitude – as I suspect most Christians do – you are going down. Your opponent is strong and you are no match for him. It is only as you live in the power of God that you can avoid defeat. The successful basketball teams win because they follow the game plan of the coach. Successful Christians live victorious spiritual lives because they follow the game plan of God (Ephesians 6:10f). It’s not rocket science.
Before she passed into glory my mother would often say old age isn’t for sissies. Neither is the Christian life. It is for men. It is for those who will fight the good fight without giving up. It is for those who will renounce the easy life for life on the front-lines of battle. It is for those who get knocked on their spiritual backs but keep getting up. It is for those who dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone, dare to have a purpose firm, dare to make it known (some of you are too young to remember that hymn!).
It is for those who never forget that Jesus has won the battle and victory is ours (Colossians 2:15)!
I needed to be reminded.
Stay in the Word