Game of Life

Game Of Life

On last Sunday all across this great country, millions of people gathered together to watch America’s greatest sports competition. For the 17 weeks, 32 teams played their best just to play in the game so many witnessed on Superbowl Sunday. And out of the 32 teams who’d played throughout the season, only 2 teams get to play in the big game.

One thing that I absolutely love to do is to look for the spiritual in the mundane. So that’s what I want to do this post, look at the game of football and find the spiritual.

Some say that Life’s a game, or in the game of life you need to do this and not do that, and while I do believe that life is a series of strategies and decision that every player is struggling to survive, choosing which team to play for is a matter of eternal life or eternal death death.

The Draft

Matthew 6: 24 tell us that we can’t serve two masters. In Joshua 24:14-15, Joshua tells us to serve the Lord. He says choose for yourself today who you will serve.

This is just like the NFL draft, except for there being 32 teams who CHOOSE you to play for them, there are only 2 teams to choose from, and YOU get to pick which team to play for. Team Jesus, or Team Satan.

Training Camp

Once a football player has been drafted into the NFL, they go to training camp. Training camp is where the coach and others on the training staff analyze the athlete performance on the field, to see where they would best fit in, how they will benefit team, and how to best utilize their skills.

Training camp isn’t for just at the beginning of the football’s player NFL career, every year at the start of a new season these athletes, many of whom have played football since they were in grade school, return to training camp to condition their bodies for the upcoming season.

After you have decided to play for Team Jesus, it is imperative that you go to training camp. Where is training camp?…CHURCH. Now church looks different from years ago; church can be streamed over social media, held virtually over the internet, or you can call in and participate in church over the phone. Church is no longer just getting up on Sunday morning and going to the building designated as a church. No matter how you attend church it is beneficial to your spiritual growth that you attend some place of worship

Like a branch that grows because it is connected to the tree, we thrive in our spiritual lives which manifest in our everyday lives, when we stay connected to the church.

In the OT the tabernacle and later the temple functioned as the central place of instruction, teaching about God, and His will for Israel.  From the tabernacle and temple, Israel sent sounded forth loud and joyful psalms of praise and worship to God.

When God gave Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle, God required the tabernacle to be in the center of Israel’s encampments. When the temple when built, it was considered to be in the center of Israel territory. So not only was these places considered to be in the center of Israel geographically but also intended to be the spiritual center of Israel.

In the new testament, We learn a few things about church from Jesus, In Matthew 16: 18, Jesus declares, “I will build my church and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.” Notices it says, “GATES”, plural, indicating that there is more than one gate to hell. If it seems like there is so much hell going on in your life, maybe you need to make church the center of your spiritual life. Jesus just told you that the powers of hell cannot prevail against His church.

Church is training camp, training for what? Training to go in the world and make disciples, Jesus gave his church the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20. We also train for righteous living, loving one another, and forgiving ourselves and others, learning the ways and will of God, and of course, worshiping and praising Him.

Coaching and Training Staff

In the NFL you have training personnel, the people who are responsible for getting you into peak performance. You have the head coach who focuses on the team as a whole, they assist athletes in developing into their full potential and provide encouragement. The head coach complies with the wants of the front office, the owners and the executives of the team.

Then you have training staff who works alongside the head coach, The training staff focuses on individual athletes or a small group of players. The training staff analyzes the athlete performance, instruct them on relevant skills and also provide encouragement.

If you are connected to a church you also have a head coach, that’s the pastor, she complies with the will of the front office, which is God. There is training staff. They are the members who help you go from drinking the milk of the Word, to eating the meat of the Word. These are the mothers, deacons, and elders of the church. The saints that have strong faith in God, who’s been on Team Jesus for a long time. They help you see spiritual growth and maturity.

Suiting Up For the Game

After successfully completing training camp you are ready to play in the game, but before you can play in the game you have to put on the right equipment so that you can perform in the highest level.

Football uniform consists of a helmet, face mask, pads, jersey, cleats. All this protect the player from injury.

Ephesians 6 tells us that what our uniform consists of; it says to put on truth. Truth is God based knowledge. It is the first thing we are told to put on. Satan is a liar. He is a deceiver. Therefore he can’t handle the truth, So truth becomes a wall that he can’t run through.

Then you are told to put on the breastplate of righteousness, which would be equivalent to the pads that football players wear. Righteousness is your response to the truth. Righteousness is living according to what God says is right. The breastplate covers the heart and the heart pumps out righteousness. If your heart is teeming with righteousness, your mind and spirit will be in alignment with God.

Next, you are to put on the cleats of peace. This is calm. You know that you are in alignment with God when your trials are coming at you like a 250lb linebacker, but you are so calm, that it’s not even understood how you are still able to play in the game.

After peace, Ephesians 6:16 says, you should, above all, put on faith. Faith is action. Faith is throwing the ball when your receiver isn’t on the spot where you intend for the ball to go, but knowing that he will be there once the ball gets downfield.

It says to put on the helmet of salvation, the helmet covers the head just as your salvation covers you. Your head is where your brain is and the brain is the bodies instruction and information center. The helmet of salvation is God-based thinking, being heavenly-focused, setting your mind on things above on heavenly things, as scripture says in Colossian 3:2.

Finally the last part of the uniform is to take up the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The bible is the written Word of God, and God wants the written word to come alive in your life. God wants the written Word to become understanding in your life. He wants you to be able to take the written word, understand its message and declare the written word over your life. Just as Jesus did in the wilderness when He declared, “it is written.”

Now that you have, as Paul said in Romans 13:14, Put on Jesus, you fully equipped to take the field and play the game.

Game Time

Ephesians 6:18 instructs you on how to get on the field of play. See the game of life is played in the spiritual realm and since you are in your natural body you can’t just run on the field. Prayer is the way you get on the field. If you want to get in the game you have to be always watching and praying with perseverance and faith.

Ephesian 6 also tells you about the opposing team. Despite what Team satan want you to believe, the opposing team is not your haters, naysayers, the people on the job that gets on your last nerve, it not your child that you can’t seem to reach, your physical or mental health issues, the bills you can’t pay, the opposing team is spiritual they are principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this age, spiritual host of wickedness in heavenly places, who we call satan and his demons.

The football is your soul. Before you gave your life to Christ,  Team Satan was in possession of your soul, but the moment you made the decision to believe in your heart, and confess Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection with your mouth, the football was intercepted. Team Jesus caught ball and now He in possession of your soul.

Before your salvation, you were the quarterback of your life, after you receive salvation you made Jesus your quarterback, the captain of your life.

Every day is a new play, a chance to progress a little further down the field. Every morning Jesus and His angels huddle around the line of scrimmage; Jesus tells His angels how He wants them to protect you, how He wants them to go before you and make a way for you to get to where you need to be, He tells them who and what they should block.

On the flip side, Team Satan huddles and strategize on how he and his demons are going deceive you, how they are going to discourage you, cause division in your home, on your job, how they are going to destroy your dreams, confidence, and your self-worth.

In the morning, right when God calls your name, and you open your eyes, you and the players on the field line up at the line of scrimmage, that’s why its so important to pray when you wake up because it’s game time.

The ball is snap to the quarterback, and Jesus throws the ball to you. Don’t get it twisted now, Jesus is giving your saved soul back to you, but because you have free will you are always in control of your life, you will have to run the ball downfield, into the endzone for a touch down.

Along the way there will be fouls, you’ll be penalized for holding, which is trying to hold on to the things of the flesh, or the things that you use to do before you were saved. You’ll get flags for encroachment which is being double minded as in James 1:8. Being on Team Jesus but leaning in on satan’s sides. Unsportmanlike conduct will be called against you that’s not conducting yourself in Christlikeness; you are not loving as you should, you are not forgiving as you should, you are cursing instead of being a blessing.

Sometimes you are able to make it to the end zone and score a touchdown effortlessly. Sometimes you may fumble the ball. Sometimes you may not be where you are supposed to be and the ball is intercepted. If this happens, recover the ball and keep running. Sometimes you have to play defense and sometimes you have to play offense. Just remember offense wins games.

And this game goes on every day of your life, until the big day. The day you open your eyes and see the Savior in all His glory, and you are crowned champion. And if you think the celebration is spectacular when your team wins the Superbowl, just imagine the celebration when God says to you, “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

NFL: Super Bowl LI: Atlanta Falcons vs New England Patriots NRG Stadium/Houston, TX 02/05/2017 SI-713 TK1 Credit: Simon Bruty

Where do you find the spiritual in the mundane? Do you even try? Comment below.

Remember to connect on social media: @jtmgblog across all platforms.

May God be with you until we meet again.

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