Two weeks ago I experienced first hand what the GFFC sportsfest was all about. It is a friendly game of volleyball and basketball competition from different Filipino churches in our area. In the past years I’ve attended and watched, but this year was the first year I actually played basketball.
With little to no practice for a long time I found my self “suiting up” to play for Vallejo International. It didn’t help that it’s been a long time since I played organized sports. So the first few minutes were a little overwhelming. I found that my body was 2-3 steps slower than what my mind wanted to do. I was not used to runthe quick spurts from one side of the court to the other side. I had a difficult time keeping up with the other players and felt intimidated and refrained from going in the lane for a layup.
After the game, with some time to reflect I started thinking how does this experience reflect the Christian life. I found the lack of practice in dribbling and shooting made me feel unsure of myself. Having no game time with other players made me feel out of place in the court; even slower or not feeling that I’m adequate enough to play. I missed opportunities for a shot, a pass, even an opening for an easy layup.
In the same manner, I think spiritually we experience similar situations if we do not constantly “practice” by reading God’s word or with constant fellowship with other believers. We tend to miss opportunities the Spirit may be leading us to do, or feel a bit out of place when we are at church or if we are with fellow believers.
Without the practice time needed in the basketball game, I felt that I didn’t even belong in the court. I think the enemy gives that same lie to us if we don’t have a constant time with God through his word or a constant relationship with fellow believers. We feel like we don’t belong, out of place, inadequate to serve. I thank God for verses like Romans 3:23-24: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
We are justified by his grace though Christ Jesus. Not by our strength but Christ, to feel empowered not by our will but through his Spirit. So, we take the time to “practice” and “prepare.” Then, “suit up” as Christ followers and join his team. “Always be prepared to give an answer toeveryone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” (1 Peter 3:15).
—Ken dela Cruz