CHAMPIONS

LifeLink Devotional (Click Here for Audio Blog)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

From 1996 to 2000, the New York Yankees were the dominant team in Major League Baseball. They were World Series Champions four out of those five years. Each year, as the rookies would arrive for spring training and receive their new uniforms, Joe Torre, the team manager, would remind them of something a former Yankees manager by the name of Billy Martin used to say to his players when they won two championships in the 1970’s. “Men, you are now members of the greatest team in baseball history. You are New York Yankees. When you put on this uniform, you represent a tradition like no other. You are part of a team like no other. We are champions. I ask only one thing of you – play like you are a championBe worthy of this uniform.”

Today’s principle from the book of Ephesians is the same – live like a champion.

Ephesians 4:1  As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 

We are followers of Jesus Christ. We represent a tradition like no other. We are part of a team like no other. We are spiritual champions. Our team manager, Jesus Christ, asks only one thing of us – live life like a champion of God. Be worthy of wearing the uniform of faith.

It’s interesting that Paul makes that statement while a prisoner – under arrest for living like a champion of God. It’s hard to understand his logic. He lived worthy of his spiritual calling, got arrested and thrown in prison, yet tells others to live in the same way. That puts us at risk of the same outcome. Many reject this calling. Many compromise their faith for the sake of secular acceptance. Many keep silent about their faith for the sake of financial peace. Many hide their beliefs for the sake of personal safety and security. But Paul’s logic makes perfect sense to those who truly understand their calling and position in Christ. Paul urges his friends to live like champions because he knows two things from personal experience:

  1. That no suffering in this life is worthy to be compared to the glory of seeing Jesus someday; and…
  2. That during the suffering, the grace of God is so sufficient that the experience of the peace of God is more satisfying than the suffering is harmful. Paul knew that faithfulness to God brings a fulfillment to life that no suffering can diminish. 

Unfortunately, many of us have never put that to the test. We have avoided suffering and hardship by living a life worthy of the world but unworthy of being a champion of God. We have predetermined that visibly and boldly living out of our faith will cause us to lose relationships, suffer financial loss, and experience social alienation. What we have chosen to idolize human experience above our love for Jesus. We put on the spiritual uniform on Sunday, but on Monday, when game day arrives, and we walk to the plate to take our first at bat, we intentionally strike out to please the other team. When we walk to the mound to throw our first pitch, we throw easy pitches for the opponent to hit so they can win. We bring shame to the name by which we are called when we intentionally live to please the other team. We disgrace the uniform of Christ by living like losers, not champions.

But we are champions. We have been called to not only be on God’s team, but to wear the uniform of Jesus Christ our Lord and King. We are called by His name. We are proud to be identified as one of His followers. There is nothing this world or its people can do that can separate us from His love.

So today, we choose to live a life worthy of our calling. We will proudly wear the lifestyle of holiness. We will proudly tell everyone that we are members of God’s team. We will live in faith and full confidence that strikeouts, hitless streaks, and errors do not bring an end to the game. We will bear down like champions and finish the game, being fully confident of this – we are champions, and we will win!

Pastor John

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