Athlete, Look at the Stops and Kills
1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV)
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
I saw a major college basketball arena scoreboard recently that surprised me. Prominently displayed all through the game, above both ends of the court, an electronic scoreboard posted a running tally of two unique statistics the home team wanted everyone in the building to see. They charted defensive “STOPS” and “KILLS.”
The home team wanted to call attention to the current number of stops-in-a-row that they kept their opponent from scoring. Every time their opponent failed to score, +1 was added to the “STOPS” board. And every time their opponent scored, the “STOPS” scoreboard cycled back to zero.
Further, when the home team got three stops in a row, the “STOPS” scoreboard positively reset back to “0” but the “KILLS” column on the scoreboard added +1. The goal was to chart and celebrate how many “KILLS” the team could get in any given game.
They believed the stops and kills index they highlighted would directly impact the overall outcome of the game. That was their killer defensive mentality and the winning formula they embraced.
Might you be also looking for new, needed wins and a better way to build momentum in your life? If so, I’ve got a fresh formula for you to consider. It’s found in the Scriptures. Today’s verse points the way to some great “STOPS” and “KILLS.”
It calls our attention to watching two big things: our LIFE and our DOCTRINE. God wants us monitoring these two aspects, tracking these two stats religiously. Wins await when we do.
WATCH YOUR LIFE. To watch your life means two things:
- to keep the film running
- to look at your life from the outside in and the inside out
Keeping the film running means we’re not just gonna watch selective highlights of ourselves, but the whole game, looking at the complete picture of who we are (examining our physical, mental, social, spiritual dimensions). We look for good possessions and bad, things to celebrate and repeat, ways to improve and adjustments that must be made.
The film doesn’t lie. It will speak truth. So let’s keep the film running, and then sit down and watch it regularly. Most of us love watching movies. Let’s make sure we watch our own. (So often this happens when we read the Bible because it has the power to read us.)
To look at ourselves from the outside in is to see ourselves as others see us, especially God. Asking the Lord and valued, wise others to tell us what they see in us is to watch our life well.
Asking others to know yourself better is the principle. Praying the prayer found in Psalm 139:23–24 helps a ton to unlock our self-awareness and keeps us from living painfully hypocritical. Check it out and express it often.
To look at oneself from the inside out is to look at one’s heart, not just one’s actions. Get there first. Out of the heart flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). So peer in there deeply. Motives reveal a lot. Make sure you are healthy here.
WATCH YOUR DOCTRINE. This means watching what you believe, not just what you do, for action always follows belief (and belief is always defined in action). Good team defense is always built first on sound principles. The better the principles, the better the chance of getting wins.
So root your beliefs about life and godliness, what’s right and wrong in all kinds of situations, based on the Scriptures, on what God says. Make this awareness a lifelong pursuit.
Abraham did, and he founded a nation. Noah did and he rebirthed a nation. Joseph and Elijah did, and they saved a nation. Daniel did and he gave courage to a nation. Jesus did and He taught, healed, rescued, redeemed, lighted and changed the world.
Here are a few pointers in how to watch your doctrine …
- If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Stand with God.
- Life doesn’t always go to the stronger or swifter person, but, sooner or later, the one who wins is the one who thinks he or she can. Build on belief.
- What we believe about God impacts what we believe about everything else. Build great Bible awareness. Read the Book.
- God loves to honor the commitments we make that honor Him. Don’t be afraid to commit.
Take regular life inventory by asking these questions:
- Functionally, am I spelling God with a capital G or lowercase G in my life?
- What’s worth living for?
- What’s worth dying for?
One more thing … 1 Timothy 4:16 finishes with a potent statement. “Persevere in them (I.e., watching your life and doctrine closely), because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.“
This implies that our salvation, rescue from calamity, long-term wins in life, and our very welfare all rest in how well we watch our life and doctrine. And when we do, the Bible says it positively impacts others too. They get wins with us.
So let’s watch our life and doctrine closely. Let’s stand in front of the mirror, watch the film, pay close attention, and ask others, especially God Himself, how we’re doing. Big, multiplied wins await as we do.
Reflect: How well are you looking at yourself? What kind of scoreboard principles are helping you? Who is watching your game film with you? Is hypocrisy crippling you more than you think?
A prayer to consider: LORD, I want to see myself as You see me and watch my life and doctrine well. These are my critical “stops and kills.” Help my actions and beliefs to consistently line up well with You, not this world.
Grant me courage to get with others to watch my game film. May Jesus live through me, by the power of Your Spirit, for Your glory. Amen.
P.S. Here is another great “stops and kills” verse: “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” Romans 8:13.