“Let’s Play Ball!”

“Let’s Play Ball!”

     Several years ago my grandson decided he wanted to play basketball. But by the time he let his dad know, all the teams had been filled. Since there were other boys who needed a team to play on as well, my grandson’s dad (my oldest son) decided to form them into a team and coach them. Their skills were somewhat limited, so they didn’t win many games. The team was in last place in preleague play, and though the boys practiced, they became more disheartened with each loss. My son knew they wanted to play, or else they would not have joined the team. They were simply embarrassed by their poor showing, full of fear and intimidated, and they lacked confidence in their skills.
     At the beginning of the next scheduled practice, my son laid out his plan. He promised each boy that if he got the ball, held it securely, took a step, bounced it once, and then passed it to a teammate—he would be considered a success. If they were close to the goal, they should throw the ball up at the basket. He also told them to keep their hands out, ready to receive the ball or jump for it, should it come their way. Finally, he promised that if each did as he asked, every single boy would get the opportunity to play at every single game.
     So what happened to my grandson and his teammates? Those boys did not become good players overnight, but they wanted to play. So they attended team practices, practiced on their own at home, and listened to my son and his assistant coaches, who patiently taught them how to improve their techniques.
     Those boys changed from being self-conscious and distressed to being bold, from being fearful and intimidated to feeling confident, from lacking knowledge to feeling knowledgeable and ready. By the end of the season, they had the opportunity to play the number one team in their league and progress to the next level of competition. They did not win the league championship, but they did overcome the obstacles that were holding them back. And that made them victors!
     What does a story of a group of boys on a basketball team have to do with you and me? Simply this: When it comes to playing on “God’s team,” we may feel self-conscious about going up to someone to talk about the Bible, or feel intimidated and fearful about being rejected for what we have to say, or not have the confidence that we know enough of God’s Word—that we may say the wrong thing or come off as sounding silly.
     Cheer up! First of all, when we were born again, we became members of the Body of Christ. We joined God’s team! That in itself makes us winners and successes according to the Word.
Ephesians 2:10:
For we are his [God’s] workmanship….
     No matter what our backgrounds are, we all started at the beginning with the new birth. The holy spirit within us is God’s workmanship, His masterpiece, and as I Corinthians 2:16 says, we each have “the mind of Christ.” As we study God’s Word, we can “put on” the new man, Christ in us. We also fellowship with like-minded believers and avail ourselves of the many Biblical resources that our ministry offers to help us renew our minds to God’s Word and carry out His will.
I Timothy 2:4:
Who [God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
     God needs us on His team speaking the truth. We can be bold and confident to share God’s Word!
     So how do we overcome the awkward feelings we may have at times about approaching someone about the Bible? Let’s ask ourselves some questions: If someone sitting next to us were thirsty and we had water to share, would we offer them a drink? If we had an abundance of coats and knew someone who needed one, would we freely offer that person at least one of ours? If we knew just two verses of scripture (Romans 10:9 and 10), and someone was struggling to understand if they were saved or how to be born again, would we share with them? Or would we think, “I’m too uncomfortable to help”?
     Of course we wouldn’t, not any of us. Why? Because we have the mind of Christ and can put on the Word of God. God exhorts us in His Word to concentrate our thinking on who we are in Christ and what we can do. We make an effort to keep our hearts strong with the greatness of God’s Word. In other words, we center our thinking on the Word and what God has called us to do. We reach, preach, and teach, being diligent and energetic to share what our heavenly Father has given us. We get busy doing!
Matthew 10:8:
…freely ye have received, freely give.
II Corinthians 5:18-20:

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
     One of the scriptures I memorized very shortly after I was born again is in Philippians.
Philippians 4:13:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
     The Amplified Bible renders it this way:
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me…].
     When we rise from our beds in the morning—or anytime we feel less than what the Word says we are—let’s look in the mirror and say with all the boldness we can muster, “I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Christ who infuses me with inner strength!” With that mind-set, we’re ready to talk to a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or a stranger about God’s magnificent Word. We’re ready to extend our love to them and offer them the opportunity of a lifetime—an opportunity to be saved and become a part of God’s family. This is God’s will….

This is an excerpt from the May/June 2017 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2017 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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