Day 6 – 23 Days of Thanksgiving – Are you in the game?


What is more iconic for some on Thanksgiving than football. Despite all the controversy around the NFL this season, there is something traditional about watching the Detroit Lions after dinner. I love those old school style football teams whether high school, college or professional. I’ve always loved Vince Lombardi, there was a football coach.

One of his most famous statements is when he came before his team the first day of training camp, held up a football and said these five words;

Gentlemen, this is a football.

In those five words, he conveyed his point. We are getting back to basics and make sure we are executing a fundamentals. He knew that winning teams were the best at doing the fundamentals well.

Are you in the game? Or are you just a spectator in God’s work. God created us very uniquely and for a specific purpose, are we playing in the game or just idly standing by.

Back to basics

Are we as Christians doing the fundamentals well? What are these fundamentals of Christianity that we should be doing? I think they are really quite simple.

In Mark, while Jesus was teaching he was asked this question,

…Of all the commandments, which is the most important. -Mark 12:28

Jesus gave an answer that helps show what these fundamentals are.

Love the Lord your God
Jesus says that the most important is to;

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. -Mark 12:30

There is more going on in that verse that might appear at first. We are command to love the Lord. That seems simple enough for most Christians, but look at the rest of the verse.

We are to love the Lord with all our heart. To me this is spending time with God. Shutting out all other distractions and spending time with him one on one. God is relational, He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to hear about your struggles, your fears, your praises and thanks. Don’t hide anything from him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6

We are to love the Lord with all our soul. We struggle as humans with emotions. Anger, depression, stress and anxiety can all be devastating to our lives. As well as feelings of joy and euphoria that are produced by carnal pleasures can be just as destructive. When you find yourself in situations like this, you can go to God, get into the Word, find your self-control and have a humble spirit and God will give us ample opportunities to get it right. In some cases, that may be all you need, other times God may direct you to medical professionals for help.

We are to love the Lord with all our mind. We must consciously renew our minds with the Word of God. When immoral or negative thoughts cloud our minds, when we find ourselves getting angry at our family and friends or when we find ourselves in sinful situations, we must cast them down and rejuvenate our minds with scripture.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5

We are to love the Lord with all our strength. Just as the players on a football team have to do things that are beyond what we think our bodies can do, sometimes we have to do things for God that go beyond how we feel. We can ask him to give us the supernatural strength to do what he is calling us to do. Even if your tired, broken-hearted or emotionally spent, it’s pressing forward and getting done what needs done.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those you hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:29-31

This was given as the greatest commandment and one that we in our sinful nature can never fully fulfill, thus our need for a savior. Just as when football players do the fundamentals of blocking and tackling well they win, when we love God in these fundamental ways, He is pleased and we can experience God at his fullest.

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