May 14, 2018

By Paul J Banta

James 3:13-18 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, nonspiritual, and demonic powers.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” – NIV

For many of us who do soccer as our trade, it’s hard to be completely comfortable in all we think, says and do. That’s the way it is in the world if we let it push us around. It’s often uncomfortable to rely on God and follow His plan because we get caught up in routines of daily duties. Let’s face the reality of fallen earth. It’s often more comfortable or more carefree to do the wrong things because you think it the easy way out.  We usually get comfortable with our daily habits, routines and those things that get us utterly immersed in this earth’s wisdom instead of where God wants to move our minds, mouths, and bodies for Him.

We need to be about serving Jesus entirely through our good efforts so one day we’ll hear those promised words from His voice, “Well done my faithful servant/coach.”  If you invest your abilities to serve Him through soccer, your commitment says that you’ll pursue a better way to coach the game.  One of my favorite passages in the Bible was written by James the step-brother of Jesus. Here’s what he concluded after being duped by the world he lived in and I believed having to live in the same house and worked alongside Jesus in the family carpentry business.

James 1:1-6 says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So, don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work, so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believing, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” – The Message

God is all about comforting us through what He did on the cross, in His resurrection and preparing a place for us for eternity.  In those moments when we want to turn back to that old habit, that old way of thinking, the old way of speaking that will steer you away from God’s purpose for your life, turn and keep your mind, eyes, and actions in this great game of soccer toward your Savior.  Get empowered by the promises of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life and say no way to the garbage in this world and cry out to God and say, “God, give me your comfort.”

Remember what James said, “When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

What’s your next move?