Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who Do You Belong To?

Romans 8:9
Acts 7:54-60
Around here nearly everyone roots for the same Detroit teams for professional sports. Hockey: Detroit Red Wings; baseball: Detroit Tigers; basketball: Detroit Pistons; football: Detroit Lions. My husband follows and watches several sports when life allows, but as circumstances would have it, the one he's most likely to watch "with" me is football. Unfortunately for him I am not a big sports fan to begin with, and the recent (decades...) track record of the Lions has been rather discouraging. To tell the truth, I gave up on them before my husband and I even started dating, saying the game's no fun to watch when you know before they even begin that your team will lose, usually quite badly. I "belong" to them only in that I'm not rooting for their opponents, but I am not a faithful friend sticking by them through the bad times as well as the good. I usually bring a book or play with our daughters while my husband cheers for a losing team.
God's team never loses but it's sometimes difficult to stay with. We can be tempted to jump ship when life seems more appealing on the other team. With God we might not lose but we might experience a lot of challenges (even martyrdom) that we could avoid without Him. I'm not facing the martyrdom-level challenges that so many others have encountered through the centuries, but now is the time to decide whether I will be a fair weather friend if those challenges do come. Choosing to belong to Him brings us the grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It brings a transformed life: it brings the ability to overcome the flesh and live according to the will of God. It brings the grace even to stay faithful when our team appear to be the underdog. I may not faithfully watch the Detroit Lions through their losing streak, but now is the time to choose to stay on God's side even if it costs me everything I have. And I know that if it does, His Holy Spirit will give me the grace I need to follow through on that commitment.

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