“That was your kind of game!” Lucas texted a few weeks ago when the Gator basketball team tromped its opponent by nearly 30 points. Indeed it was, my favorite kind of game.
The boys have taught me well, not only strategies and terms, but who to root for in football, basketball, and baseball. The Gators, the Rays, the USF Bulls, the Miami Dolphins, the Buccaneers, sometimes the Jags if they aren’t thoroughly embarrassing themselves, and any SEC team that is not playing Florida at the moment.
But if any of those teams are playing, I do not enjoy what most people call “a good game.” Why would anyone enjoy something that causes heart-burn, heart palpitations, and heart-ache? I cringe until the score becomes outrageously unbeatable, and then sit back and enjoy the rest. That’s my kind of game.
And though it certainly isn’t a game, that’s the way I like my contests with the Devil too. It ought to be that lopsided a score. We have a Savior who has already taken care of the hard part. We are already so far ahead, even before we start, that a comeback by the opponent should be unthinkable. We have an example how to overcome. We have help overcoming. We have a promise that we CAN overcome if we just try. We have every possible advantage, including coaches and trainers and all-star teammates, and a playbook that is infallible.
We have the motivation too. As we said, this isn’t a game. There is no next season, and defeat is an unthinkable consequence that should spur us on to adrenalin-boosted, nearly superhuman feats. And the trophy is far better than anything offered us in this life. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one, 1 Cor 9:25. That crown is called a “crown of life” in several passages—an eternal life with our Creator.
Do not make your game a close one. Don’t sit back and let the Adversary make a comeback. Don’t fumble the ball, or commit an error, or make a turnover out of carelessness and apathy. Victory is not handed to you on a platter. You still have to want to win, and fight like that every minute. My kind of game may not appeal to you when you watch your favorite teams play, but it should be the only kind you want when your soul is at stake.
We are “more than conquerors” with the help of God (Rom 8:37). His game plan involves a rout, running up the score, and rubbing the enemy’s nose in defeat. And it can go exactly that way with just a little effort on your part.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"...But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:53-55, 57