After only nine practices in three weeks, the GBA Lions basketball took to the court against the Valley Baptist Crusaders last Monday night. The first quarter was horrendous for both teams after just finishing their soccer seasons a few weeks before. Valley made some adjustments in the second quarter and began to pull away. The GBA Lions made their adjustment late into the third quarter but found themselves in too deep of a hole to recover from. The loss stung bad and everyone, myself included were quite disappointed at the outcome.
Even though the scoreboard showed Valley as a winner, our players determined that we would not come away from this game empty-handed.
As we licked our wounds from the battle in the locker room, I began to read out the stats for the night. Too many turnovers. Lack of execution. A shortage of confidence. I also reminded them of what they did well. That perfectly executed high pick-and-roll. The intensity of their diamond press. The higher-than-last year free throw percentage. Still, the loss was tough to swallow.
I gave Coach Luce a chance to say a few words. The captain saw the problem, addressed it, and I can see his mind turning- figuring out ways to solve it. Other players realized some of the weak points during the game. We all promised to do better next time. We won’t beat ourselves again!
Then we huddled together for prayer. One of the young men prayed and as he did, he uttered the words, “Lord, help us to build on our successes and learn from our failures.” When I heard that I responded verbally with an “Amen,” and internally my heart was filled with joy.
That’s it! That’s what I want them to do. Life will throw us some curveballs, it will give us some lemons, and it will not always be fair. Guess what- deal with it, learn from it, and move on!
The “Used-To” Christians
There are too many of these types of Christians plaguing our churches today. Like an armchair quarterback they criticize those seeking to please Christ through their service while they sit on the sidelines. Remember that our past service is not a substitute for our present surrender.
Being a “used-to” Christian does not build on the spiritual successes Christ has bestowed upon us. Used the successes of the Christian life as a stepping stone to doing more for Him. Don’t take your ease but like Caleb say, “I want that mountain!”
The “I Can’t” Christian
If you’ve never read through the Bible, I encourage you to do so. The majority of people God used were not qualified, experienced people. They were men and women who simply yielded their lives to God.
I love what Paul tells us in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing that He which hath begun a good work in you shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” All the plans God has for your life, all the difficult tasks ahead of you, all the moments of service you can render to God and His people- they all shall be performed by Him. It’s God’s power and His grace that enables us.
When we say, “I can’t” we are technically right. But practically speaking we’re really saying “I won’t.” The matter of service and surrender is not about ability but obedience.
As human beings we will fail. We will mess up. But let’s look unto Jesus, ask for His forgiveness, trust in His Word, and obey His commands. When we do, what was a loss today will be a victory tomorrow. I’m proud of my team! They’re getting better and last night they showed me a valuable lesson from a loss.