Athlete, Run that Play

Run that Play

15  "If you love Me, keep My commands."

John 14:15 (NIV)

I was a shooting guard in high school. We had a play where I went to the block and the center came down and set a pick for me. I popped up for a shot or passed it to him as he sealed off his man.

I remember thinking, “That play is too simple.” But, it often worked. We did not understand why, we just did it.

Your coach says, “Do this drill.” Your strength coach says, “Do this exercise.” You may not understand why. Then you look back and realize it worked.

We experience something similar as Christians in our relationship with God. We must begin to obey and be faithful before we can fully understand.

Pastor and author Timothy Keller with his wife, Kathy, wrote, “If children waited to obey until they fully understood their parents’ minds, it would be a disaster.”

Our two-year-old daughter has to trust us when we tell her not to touch the stove. Like our daughter, we want to understand first and ask, “Why?”

We want to know that the play will work before we run it. We want proof our actions and decisions will pay off before we make them. We want to know why we should not touch the stove.

But, the proof we desire is often inaccessible. Since no one has complete understanding we must “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

It sometimes feels like we are trusting blindly and obeying despite what we feel like doing. Jesus is amazed by such faith and He says that kind of faith is inseparable from our love for Him.

Recall Jesus’ astonishment with the faith of the centurion (Luke 7:1-10). Throughout the Gospels, Jesus marveled at those who have “not seen, but yet believed” (John 20:29).

Athlete, full enlightenment will come. But for now, trust your guide Jesus, because He is, as the late Christian philosopher Dallas Willard put it, “The smartest person who ever lived.” He is worthy of our full attention and conformity.

I bet you can look back and see that Jesus has always had your best interests in mind. I also bet you can look back and see that faithfulness unlocks understanding, but infidelity prevents it.

The more years we played for our coach, the more we saw his brilliance. We came to see it was best to do what he said. It is the same way with Jesus. The more we read and ponder His words and actions, the more we see His brilliance.

Keep in mind, mere obedience is not the end goal. Like Jesus, we do not obey just for the sake of obeying, but for oneness with our Father.

Athlete, share in our collective awe of our Teacher and Messiah. In the next two weeks, read the Gospel of Luke. It will only take a little time each day.

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