The world just watched the biggest football game of the year: Super Bowl 58 with the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the San Francisco 49ers. What a matchup this was! As the game went back and forth, each team playing extremely hard and with the purpose of winning the trophy, they all knew there could be only 1 winner. The fight was on.
Most of us less athletic types either sat on the expensive sidelines in the stadium or sat in the free seats at home to watch this intense game play out, as we proudly cheered on our favorite team. Our hope was that our vocal participation and choice of clothing would inspire our team to play even better, fight harder, and take home the coveted prize. Does that truly help? If we are physically present, then yes, our cheers might encourage them quite a bit, but besides that, it does not improve their chances or odds of winning.
To actually win the game means each of those men individually and as a team would have to lay it all on the line and give it everything they have – strength, will, sweat, tears, and determination, by playing as a united team with the single goal of conquering the other guys and accumulating more points. This could only be accomplished with much practice, and excellent coaching.
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”
1 Peter 4:7
On this rainy morning, as I sat down to have my devotional time with the Lord, I had the desire to just be a sponge and absorb the Word of God. Now, reading the Bible and listening to what the Lord might want to say to me is a very good thing. But to choose to stay out of the very real spiritual fight and not want to join in and pray for others’ needs, I quickly learned was wrong, because immediately the Spirit of God reminded me of how we are living on the physical side of a spiritual battle, and that if we choose to sit on the sidelines and not participate by getting out there on the battlefield, then we (or others) are going to lose that battle.
It is easier, less stressful and simply put – comfortable, to just sit by and cheer on other believers as they take on the fight for truth and the gospel of Jesus. We encourage them by saying we will pray for them, but do we? We encourage them by listening to their stories of how God has moved, but do we follow suit so that God can move through us? We wear the clothes with the Godly slogans, we watch the movies and read the books of what others have done in Jesus’ name where lives were eventually changed as they conquered addictions, imprisonment, hate, or depression. But where does that leave you? Where does that leave me? Am I, are we, engaging in this very real spiritual battle of other’s lives or even our own?
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
1 Peter 3:8
I say let’s get up off of our comfortable couch, walk out onto the field where the intense fighting is occurring, and put on the armor of God that He has given to you! Then get on your knees! Let us as a team face our common enemy head on, and in the name of Jesus, charge! It is time to lay it all on the line: our passion, our will, our sweat and tears, and with determination that God’s name will be proclaimed so that our enemy become powerless because of the power of Jesus’ name! We must become engaged and act on behalf of others by praying earnestly, raising up our hands, and calling on God in the powerful name of Jesus.
The greatest Coach, Jesus the Son of God, has called you to be an integral part of His team….will you answer that call? It will cost you everything, but you will win the battle and receive the all-time highest trophy: a crown of LIFE. God’s team wants YOU!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,..”
Food for thought: If you choose to stay an observer and not really participate or get involved in this spiritual battle, how will you answer to the Lord when you meet Him? Could someone’s life have been better if you had fought for them? Do you know of a prayer group that meets and you can join them in fighting in prayer for others? If not, start one!
This ‘game’ of life is a spiritual battle with eternal consequences.
Fun facts: The highest price ever paid for a Super Bowl ticket was $40,000. There are 32 NFL teams; each team has 53 players; there are 7 on-field officials plus 1 for replay review.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Watching and Playing Football