Monday, April 12, 2010

Are You in the Game? Part Two

This is the second part to "Are You in the Game or on the Sidelines?"

Having given you a day to think about the question, I now ask another; what does it mean, to me, to be in the game?

Is Jesus calling us to live in a cave and eat wild honey, like John the Baptist? Are we on the sidelines if we are not on a course to being killed for our profession of faith? What am I expected to do or how am I expected to live in order to be "in the game"?

The answer is probably different for each of us. For most of us though; no, God is not demanding that you move into a wilderness and wear animal skins for clothing as you stand in a river and shout to those on the sidelines. Most believers and true followers of Jesus will not be martyred for their belief.

Being in "the game" is no game at all. It is a way of living. It is a life change, a shuffling of our priority list. A believer sees the world through different eyes. So, to begin with, who is a believer? This is a person who turns to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Many who would call themselves believers have only signed up for the Savior part. They have held onto the lordship portion of their lives. Jesus is not divisible! Either you come to Him according to His rules or you have not come to Him at all. When He says, deny yourself, follow me, believe in me; these are not suggestions.

We cannot serve God and idols at the same time. When we want to be "saved" but we want to go on living just as before, we hold ourselves up as our own idol. I cannot put me as my top priority and be serving God at the same time - it does not work that way. I cannot live for my job, hobby, recreation, etc.; spending all my time and energy on these and claim that Jesus is the Lord of my life.

We are told in the Bible that God has assigned various gifts and ministries in the Body of Christ, which we are members. Paul tells us in Corinthians that each believer has a function in the Body and we each need to be performing the duties of that function. If we do not do our part, the Body will not function as well, as a whole. I may just be the skin under the toenail, but if have a splinter in my life, the Body will limp. What Paul is trying to teach us is not just some interesting idea, it is a blueprint of how the Church is supposed to operate in the world. We, each one of us, really does have a part to play and a responsibility to fulfill.

Arrange your priorities according to the instruction God has given us. God must be first. Others must be next. In fact others just might fill up the rest of your list. But where do "I" fit in? Honestly, you may not be on your list. Remember, "deny yourself"? Wow, that is not fair, what about my needs? Believe me, you can stop worrying about your needs because God cares for you. God will make you someone else's "other". When we each function properly, it all works out.

Being "in the game" is a condition of the heart and attitude. Our heart must be set upon pleasing God and our attitude arranges our priorities so that we are no longer selfish-minded. When a believer has these areas in order, he will be pliable in God's hands. God will use us exactly how and where He wants. We will be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and conscious that the words coming out of our mouths are not based on our wisdom. It will be a beautiful thing to behold!

An old saying fits here real well, "Let go and let God!"

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