November 27, 2017

By Paul J Banta

Galatians 5:19-24 says,” When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” – NLT

One morning I was sitting next to a neighbor, friend and a former business partner of mine several years ago at our men’s Bible study and in the discussion, were verses Matthew 22:34-39, which said, “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question saying, Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied saying, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

We sometimes really struggle living up to what is required physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally for us to do this game of soccer let alone doing the game in Love the Lord requests for us to have and honor Him. In your strength, none of you can ever live up to this obligation, but the Lord has provided a way for Christians to do the impossible. That’s right ‘The Impossible.’ Galatians 5:24-25 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Holy Spirit, let us keep in step with the His Spirit.” The indwelling Holy Spirit works to produce Christ-like characteristics in us, and first on the list is love. In fact, the other eight qualities are just descriptions of its expression when we play and coaching the game.

Whenever you coach, play or administrate the game you’ll need to demonstrate honesty, kindness, patience, and gentleness.  We see the Lord’s love at work through you, especially when the other person has cheated you, lied to you, been unkind to you, spoke severely of you or tried to get your support of what they are doing against someone else. God wants you to tell the exact truth and be who He designed you to be. These characteristics (or fruit as the Bible calls them) are not produced by working harder to muster good will toward someone, who has irritated you or a person hard to get along with. Instead, think of the process more like sap running through a branch on a grape-vine. The branch doesn’t make grapes; the sap does. In the same way, the Holy Spirit flows through us, producing God’s love in us, so that we can pass it on from Him to others.

What’s your next move?