Saturday, December 12, 2015

Run the Plays - Win the Game

Basketball is a big part of my life. Being a basketball coach's wife and mom of two players has made life very interesting. There are good days and bad days. I'll let you guess when those occur.

This is the time of year I spend much of my time in the gym. Sounds of squeaky shoes chirping their way around the court. An occasional whistle, warning of a player violation, delays the momentum of the game. The rhythm of the ball thuds from one end to another - a pause - then the swoosh of the ball making it's way through the net. I love this game. And the crowd roars as their favorite team scores the basket.

While sitting in the gym watching my favorite team run their offense, I saw a familiar play. Coach has used this one many times. I'm sure it's at the top of his playbook. -As many times as it has been drawn up for me and explained on a napkin, I pretty much can recognize when it is put into play.

The flex offense - a play run by all five players in an intricately woven pattern of designed motion. Each player moves in time as another passes the ball with an aimed precision. This offense, when executed well, can wear down a defense making it easier for the offensive team to make the goal. However, if one offensive player makes the slightest mistake, a turnover can result in favor of the opposing team; giving them an opportunity to score. That's when a whistle can blow - coach calls time out.

As I watched this I thought about how God wants to use us as His players to play this game of life. It's His team versus the enemy and each one of His players has a specific position and purpose. Each team has a set of offensive plays with opposing defensive strategies - and the enemy doesn't always play by the rules. Fortunately, God's playbook describes all plays for both teams. - it even has the results at the end of the game.

Not only is it important for the team (the church) to know the playbook, it is especially important that each individual player know their roles and responsibilities in their position. Deuteronomy 11:18 says,
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."
 We need to know the playbook so that we can play our best game against the enemy. Do you know their strategies? Do you know how to defend yourself? Coach says, "offense wins games, but defense wins championships". I believe that can be true in life too. In order for us to be used by God to play the best game we can in the positions He chooses to put us in, we have to know our defense... the Word of God; our playbook.

Coach expects each player to know the fundamentals as well as the plays and the strategies the enemy uses. We want to be our best so the enemy can't throw us off our game. The enemy will occasionally block our shots and take the ball from us but what's important is that we pick ourselves up and hustle back. We have to get the ball back in play and make the shots God calls us to make. Remember, you will miss 100% of the shots you don't take. 

As coach says, "we have to get out of our comfort zones". Sometimes the trials and tribulations we face make us very uncomfortable, but they are preparation for a tougher game we may have to face later. One of my coach's favorite verses is,
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
We want to be mature and strong in our faith as much as an athlete does in order to prepare for the game. We will face some tough games, games where we will miss shots and make mistakes. Our big coach may take us out of the game and sit us on the bench for a while until we get our head back in the game, but you can bet that he will do or say something to inspire our hearts to play harder.
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11
With Jesus on our side, we know that His love can fill us to the measure with the fullness of God and give us the strength we need to win! (Ephesians 3:19)
"to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." Ephesians 3:20
When we are confident in this truth, we can know that although we will miss the easy layup from time to time, the power of God within us can give us the strength we need to throw down that 360 degree dunk in the enemies face!

There are teams that play and win due to their sheer athleticism, but there are teams that win because of their heart. Many times the heart overcomes and beats the opposing team against all odds. But know this, in this game we call life, we are on God's team. He gives us all the strength we need and inspires our hearts to win.

We ARE the winning team - the VARSITY team!
"But he took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory." 2 Samuel 23:12


  1. A very apt comparison! Basketball isn't nearly such a big part of my life, but I've sat on the sidelines for my share of games watching the husband play in neighborhood games or games with the other high school teachers. Both the head knowledge and the good habits that develop out of head knowledge are important for playing well, and that applies to a life of faith, too.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Rachel! We eat, live, and breathe basketball for about 4-5 months a year! :) You know what I love most though... my husband, coach, loves his kids and does what he can to be a godly role model for them so they grow up to be the young men God called them to be.


  3. I'm a basketball fan so I liked this. Good analogy that many will be able to relate to. If more of us lived by the playbook, then we would all be so much better off in the game of life.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing a comment Mary!

  4. I'm not so much of a sports person, but I loved how you used basketball to help explain our relationship between God and the devil. To think of life in terms of something we do with God to fight against the devil helps lend strength and encouragement. And gives the courage and push to move forward against the devil's schemes.

  5. I just love visualizing myself as part of God's Championship Team! As i get deeper into my faith and further along in my story I am watching how every part of my life, even my daily actions, are part of this larger plan. I am so pleased to be in the Lord's playbook.

    1. Me too Sheri! I get a little worked up like a boxer punching the air knowing that we are on the winning side! You kind of get that air of bravery and confidence knowing that God's playbook already lays out who wins in the end. :) IT IS FINISHED!


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