Two weeks ago I began helping coach my boys’ football team. It’s really my first steps back into a world I left almost 20 years ago when I was injured playing football in college. The joy of hearing the shoulder pads pop and kids running around the field trying to tackle each other has been healing for me. Football in Texas is pretty crazy and I could go on for pages about how sports can be a distraction. Whether it be parents trying to live a sports life through little Johnny or Suzie, or the sport itself becoming the focal point of life. Sports are wonderful when kept in the right place, but in the American culture they can also create tension. Amber and I have battled with all of our kids as they play sports, challenging them to remain focused on what matters in life. Some days it teetered out of balance and others it was an incredible asset in pointing our kids to Christ and their identity in Him versus a logo on a uniform. What I found at the root of the tension though is PRIDE. Sports can fuel pride in both a positive way and negative.
Several posts ago I posed a question, “what distracts you?” Today I will wrap up my thoughts on what ultimately distracts each of us from knowing and doing the will of God. One of my cornerstone life verses is Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
In this verse Paul appeals to you and I, giving us the remedy to being distracted. At the core of all our distractions and ways we are trapped or drift away from God is pride. Our pride is an ugly little thing. At the core of it is a belief that we can either be God or do things better than God. For me personally, I find myself sometimes not trusting, believing that whatever the issue is I can take care of it and do not need God. Other times, I self condemn and drift from God, thinking I am not worthy of Him. Even in that bad place, my pride is at the core. Pride produces both an overinflated and a deflated view of self. One causes us to think we are independent of God, the other causes us to think we are unlovable by God.
When coaching my kids in sports, my competitive nature rises up and pride leads the way. I want to win and I want the kids I coach to be successful. Pride swirls around, creating tension that I must grab hold of, taking the thoughts captive.
Sports push my button. We all wrestle with pride on some level. It is attached to our sinful nature, like bark on a tree. It’s part of us. We have to take it captive and submit it to God.
Paul’s words give us the answer. We must climb up on the altar and offer ourselves to God. We must submit ourselves to Him wholly, not partially. Our truest form of worship is to die to ourselves and give our lives to Him. It is there, in the place of total death, that we find life. When our plans, agendas, and motives are laid down, then we are truly worshiping God. The great news is that it does not stop there. In that place of worship we find God’s will. His perfect will. Process some of these questions and draw close to him. Give your day, your week, your life to the One who directs our very steps.
- How does your pride remove God and put you in charge of your life?
- In what ways can your pride distract you from hearing or seeing God’s will for your life?