Sunday, January 13, 2013

~ "Score!!!"

Warwick Wildcats after winning the regionals for the
International Silver Sticks Competition

"And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. (2 Tim 2:5) [Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. (2 Tim 2:5 NIV)]"

"As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger." (Matthew Henry)

Right now, there is a group of young men who have practiced and played hockey together for quite some time.  They are approximately 16 and 17 years old.  They have played hockey for many years (if you can accumulate "many" years at their age).  They learned to play this game when they were younger and as a result, they are in currently Canada, competing for the title of Champions this weekend.  They practice together, travel together and enjoy each other's company off the ice.  They play by the rules.  They have a love for the game and devotion and dedication to their sport that is unsurpassed.  They are individuals, yet, they are a team!  They know their sport as well as any professional hockey team and they play their game with a passion.  They are the Warwick Wildcats.  They come from different backgrounds, they all have their own lives, families and "baggage" (for lack of a better word).  When they step on the ice - they become ONE!  They respect their Captain!  They respect their coaches.  They exhibit patience and dedication.  They play to win and give 100%.  

We also are individuals, yet we are part of a team.  We have learned the "game" (through our study of God's word).  We have practiced (through imitating Christ's example).  We, as Christians, must be faithful to our Captain. Our desire must be to please Christ. "We are to strive to get the mastery of our lusts and corruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observe the laws" (Matthew Henry).  We must play by the same rules we tell others about - love they neighbor, do unto others and so forth.  Not everyone who claims to be a Christian lives a "Christ-centered" life.  Some are merely "Sunday Christians" who do not live the word of God nor practice the teachings of Christ outside of church. "But those who strive lawfully shall be crowned at last" (Matthew Henry). Jesus tells us that the "last shall be first".  If we want to enter the kingdom, we must do the work.  In order to achieve the prize, we must play the game (you don't get trophies for sitting on the sidelines cheering the team on).  We must do the work Christ has called us to do in order to receive the rewards offered to us for doing so - patience and dedication (along with practice) will bring us to that place.  "Together with our prayers for others, that the Lord would give them understanding in all things, we must exhort and stir them up to consider what they hear or read" (Matthew Henry). Play to win and give 100%!!!