Are you sitting on the bench or in the game?

Published 7:30 am Sunday, February 5, 2023

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The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs will face off in the Super Bowl next Sunday, but only one of them will win the top prize in football.

There’s a statement that’s been said about the Super Bowl, “Organization, discipline and physical and mental toughness… Every team talks about them, but few can attain them.” Former 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garappola said of playing in the Super Bowl, “That’s been the dream since you were a little kid growing up. You want to be the guy playing in the Super Bowl. It’s what you live for.”

Several years ago, I heard author and Bible teacher Beth Moore teach at a conference in Mobile. She said, “We will live out our mindset, what we believe in the marrow of our bones.” Proverbs 23:7 puts it this way, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” During her teaching, she encouraged Christians to believe God and let His Word determine what we think.

Moore also reminded her listeners that we can be victorious through Him who loved us. (Read Romans 8:37.) Then she challenged us to live like it. To prove her point, she used football as an analogy for the Christian life, “We are either sitting on the bench or in the game getting sweaty.”

The truth of her teaching reminded me that there are Christians who sit on the bench at church when God has a purpose and plan for every believer to accomplish for His kingdom. God may need you to be a prayer warrior, a Sunday School teacher, or an usher.

However, you may feel defeated by past sins or temptations that Satan uses to trip you up. Though we mess up over and over, we must repent and ask God to forgive us over and over. Remember, you are more than victorious through Him. The playing field is leveled by God’s love for you.

If we could speak to the Apostle Paul today, I believe he would still say, “Press on” (Philippians 3:14) and not give up. Trials and tribulations will seemingly knock us to the ground and adversities will pile on. But God has given us a helmet and other protective gear listed in Ephesians 6.

Sometimes we may feel like we’re in “wait” training, wondering what God is going to do in our lives. But the prophet Isaiah said, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…they shall run and not grow weary” (40:31).

One of my few favorite movies is “Remember the Titans,” and Beth Moore used a clip from the movie to illustrate an important point. It’s the scene where the referees were making bad calls to throw the game against the Titans. The assistant coach walks out on the field to confront them and then calls his defensive players together, “Don’t let them get beyond the scrimmage line! I don’t want them to get another yard tonight. Never let them forget the night they played the Titans.”

The Apostle Paul tells us not to give place to the devil, our unseen enemy who is not flesh and blood (Ephesians 4:27, 6:12). As Beth Moore taught us, “Blitz all night – joy comes in the morning.” Live victoriously through Christ.

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”