Tackling Your Opponent

To the chagrin of my wife, football is back and better than ever. Yesterday I escaped to my man cave and watched football from sunrise to sunset. There is just something about football that speaks to my heart. Like most men, as a little boy I dreamed of making it to the NFL. Unfortunately, my career peeked in middle school. My one shinning moment on the gridiron took place while I was playing Pop Warner football in 6th grade.

During the final practice before our first game, the team engaged in tackling drills. When it came to my turn, I looked up to see my opponent, an 11 year old, grown man-child who weighed as much as a grizzly bear and had the facial hair to prove it. Being less than 5 feet tall and a hundred pounds soaking wet, I attempted to sneak my way to the back of the line. The defensive coordinator would have none of it and gave me an earful about what he had taught us about leverage. Reluctantly, I got into my stance and ran full force at Goliath with my eyes closed fully expecting to get leveled. Yet, when I opened my eyes I was on the ground with my arms wrapped around my opponent. Glory was mine. Against all odds, I tackled the grizzly man-child.

Unfortunately, my mom, attending her first practice, bolted from the stands and quickly squashed any hope I had of a football career. Fearful that her baby would get hurt or killed, she forced me to hand in my helmet. This doesnt take away from the moment or the truth that discipline produces results. My moment of glory speaks to our tendency to shrink away from the challenges before us. I cant blame my mom for her reaction. Her motherly instinct kicked in. But, I have to be honest. Before tackling Goliath, everything in me was contemplating faking a leg cramp so I wouldnt have to face my opponent.

Doubt about overcoming obstacles doesnt just occur on the football field. It carries over to our own personal growth and having our One Word embedded into our character. When the coach calls your name, it takes you awhile to catch your breath and take that first step. All the questions of whether you are up for the challenge run through your mind. The voices of failure, condemnation and doubt are shouting loudly. The fear you are feeling is evident to everyone, including your coach so he grabs you by the facemask and reminds you that the question has already been answered: you have what it takes.

We can walk into the huddle with confidence because we already know the outcome: Christ has conquered death. Scripture, Gods word, speaks to this point time and time again. You have been bought with a price and you belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). You have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14). Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35-39). You can be confident that the good work God has begun in you will be completed (Philippians 1:6). God hasnt given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). If you beat your body, you can make it your slave (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 and 1 Thessalonians 4:4).

After trusting that God believes in you, the next step in penetrating your fortress of status quo and complacency is by creating disciplines that encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and begin to walk with integrity. Throughout the book of Proverbs, we see how discipline leads to wisdom (3:11-13), knowledge (12:1), understanding (15:32), and a way of life (6:23). The point of disciplines is to do something you can do in order to do something you cant do. Disciplines must remain disciplines for a period of time. This consistency enables them to become habits and then reflexes. Eventually, they are dissolved into your character.

Becoming a person who embodies their One Word does not take place over night. It is a result of taking responsibility for your integrity and character. The key to growth is to be relentless in your walk with God and pursuit of wisdom. Wisdom keeps us focused while integrity protects our path (Proverbs 2:1-15). It is instruction and wisdom that produces this way of honor in us. This is how we glorify God and tackle the obstacles before us.

  • If remaining connected to God is what enables character to take root in our lives, how would you describe your current connection? How would you describe your pursuit of wisdom?
  • Our character develops more profoundly during difficult times where distress, pain and frustration are present. What challenging situation is God using to shape your character right now?

Are you looking for a way to keep your word in front of you all year long? Register for a My One Word account! One of the key features of a MOW account is an online Word Journal that allows you to capture your thoughts to reflective questions like you see above. You can go back at any time to read your completed journals to see how God has been moving in your life through your word in 2011.  If you already have an account, the questions from this blog have been posted to your Word Journal log in to your account to start your Word Journal today!