Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT)
Some of the most helpful advice I got when I played varsity basketball had nothing to do with shooting technique, footwork, or defensive schemes. Though those are all important, I was able to pick those up pretty quick. No, what my coach told me was very simple, yet profound. He said, “Chad, basketball is a full-contact sport.” Boom! I know, it’s earth-shattering, right?! OK. Let me explain. Though I was one of the tallest guys on the team, I rarely was getting any rebounds. Why? Because I was afraid to go underneath the hoop where people were running into one another trying to get to the errant shot. I had played football, so knew how to play through contact, but had never thought of basketball as a sport that also required the tall guys to bang bodies too. So, I began going underneath, not afraid of the battle. I embraced the concept of contact. As a result, I started grabbing rebounds, which greatly helped my team.
Now, I get to share some earth-shattering news with you. Christianity is also a full-contact sport. No, not in the traditional sense (Please don’t tackle the deacon or pastor at church this weekend). Daily we battle with the forces of Satan’s kingdom. However, we can’t be afraid of the contact. Our job is to help people find the Kingdom of God, and that requires us to get under the hoop and do battle for their souls.
So, what does it take to do this? The Apostle Paul spells it out for us, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” Be on guard, paying attention to the schemes of Satan that surround us and those we are trying to help find Jesus. Stand firm in the faith, understanding that the battle is not ours, but God’s. He will see this through. We are merely His warrior. Be courageous, don’t fear the enemy. The enemy should fear the Christian who has sold out to the Kingdom of God. Be strong, don’t bring your weak game. Bring the strength of the Holy Spirit with you. It’s the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and caused the demons to flee in His presence.
Our friends, family, and neighbors need to know about the love of God. But, it will take all of us, as warriors for the Kingdom of God, working in faith to make it happen. Don’t fear the battle, embrace it.