UP TO SPEED

It’s that time of year again when high school, college, and professional football takes over the American sports scene. In Texas extra caution has been taken for teams facing this horrific heat wave. None the less the game must go on. The football season is underway.

Coaches are putting their players through various drills, run-throughs, and scrimmages to prepare their teams for upcoming games. The pro-football teams have made some rule changes about how they practice this year. Full pads with full contact work-outs have been limited to once a week. Players practice now with limited full-speed scrimmages.

Because the pro lock-out kept the players away from their practice facilities they haven’t been able to get the conditioning necessary to be full-speed ready. It seems that there are more injuries than in a normal pre-season. Either the players are not fully conditioned or the half-speed drills are creating injuries. Either way it doesn’t seem as if they are up to speed.

There seems to be a similar pattern in the spiritual lives of many Christ-followers. Some show to have a basic belief in Jesus, but resist following Him wholeheartedly—a half-speed Christianity, so-to-speak. These were the kind who struggle most with faith. Some remarked how the Christian life wasn’t working for them and were often frustrated with incorporating their faith into life. Others harbored resentment toward God for their life situations. And some would walk away from any visible evidence of following Christ (at least for a time). It appears to me that a half-speed Christianity easily leads to spiritual injury.

The Christian life is not designed to be lived at half-speed. This isn’t to say that any of us follow Christ perfectly in this life. But a wholehearted faith that reflects our desire to be all that God wants us to be, and to do what God wants us to do—are daily choices each of us can and should make. This daily choice, regardless of our faults and imperfections, gives us a proper life-perspective and aligns us with God, putting us in a position where God is able to make the most out of our lives and to grow strong in faith. This is where we live out a full-speed Christianity.

As in full-speed football, so also in the Christian life: injuries, hurts and disappointments happen occasionally along the way. It’s just part of the “game.” But, our most significant safety factor is found in living our lives wholeheartedly for Christ, day-in and day-out.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). Make it your aim to do what it takes to be an up to speed Christ-follower.

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