Stress. We all have it. How do we manage it? At the end of January, I wrote the following column for the Southeast Missourian concerning one way to address the stress in your life.
Would the Apostle Paul root for the Kansas City Chiefs?
In short. Yes. Especially if he was from Kansas City. But if he was from San Francisco he would probably root for the 49ers.
Paul’s aim was to share Jesus in any way he could. He would become all things to all men to win some (1 Cor. 9:22) and use the language of the place he was to communicate with those who lived there (Acts 17:24 – 29). My assumption is that Paul would probably root for the team of the city he was in.
Sport is a common connecting point for many people. Whether your athleticism is speed walking from the couch to the fridge or completing an ultramarathon many can connect to the story and struggle that emerges from sport. Paul often used the imagery of sports to communicate spiritual truth.
Look at the following from Paul (emphasis added);
- Acts 20:24 (ESV); But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24 – 27 (ESV); 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
- Philippians 3:14 (NLT); I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
- Galatians 5:7 (ESV); You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
- 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT); “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
- 1 Timothy 6:12 (ESV); Fight the good fight of the faith
- 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV); I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
- Philippians 2:16 (ESV); Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
Sport creates a connection point. The imagery of sport helps to apply one’s faith. To endure challenges. To know what it is to rise from failure. To celebrate more than the win but competing well.
Does God care who wins the big game? No. God cares about how the players play. In a similar way, God cares how you live out your faith. That your faith will by His strength endure. That the free gift of grace will be worked out in the arena of your life. Fight the good fight. Run the race to obtain the prize. To quote Hebrews 12:1- 2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Run. Fight. Win.
And Go Chiefs!
Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (NLT). These verses build three ways in which your confidence, your faith is increased.
Here is a link to a recent post at the Southeast Missouri.
Pastors are craftsmen. Diligently working at their calling. Investing themselves in a future generation. My article with LifeWay Pastors expands on this analogy.
Gideon is one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament. When we first meet Gideon he is hiding in a cave threshing out wheat. An angel of the Lord appears to him and greets him in a way that is not consistent with the circumstances. God sees who Gideon will become, intervening in his life, long before Gideon even knows who he is.
My recent column at The Southeast Missourian expands on this blog.
I’m always reading something. I just finished The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt: A Lifetime of Exploration, and Triumph of American Natural History by Darrin Lunde. A fantastic read. I am currently reading American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Solomon. (Though while doing some research for this short introduction I’ve been made aware of a controversy surrounding Solomon’s work that I need to investigate further.)
My latest post with LifeWay Pastors speaks to three reasons to add a biography to your reading list this summer. I say there are three, but really include four in the post.