I love Fall. I really do. I like the weather turning cooler, playing with the kids outside, yard work coming to a close, and most importantly college football. Yes, if you were raised in Oklahoma there is a good chance you bleed crimson or orange. Events, get-togethers, weddings, etc. are planned around the Sooner’s and the Cowboy’s schedules. Entire calendar years are planned around a game where 18-24 year old men are entertaining us with a ball. It is a great feeling to put your time and energy into a team, sometimes an individual player, and see them compete and win. However, when we spend that much time, energy, and money it can be hard on us when they lose, or when they don’t do well. Up until 2008 I spent most of my year consumed by this. Whether it was football, or something else, my joy seemed to be identified through this.
When Jesus entered my life, I didn’t realize how drastically things were going to change. I had spent most of my life looking for joy in things. Stuff. Junk. I was consumed by the world. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t a good person, it just means that my circumstances dominated my life. I now realize that college football was an idol for me. It came before anything else. Pick your idol. Is it football, sports in general, money, employment, kids, etc.? Mine was. I was a slave to this world and I didn’t even realize it because I had been doing it my whole life.
Being a follower of Jesus, I had to make a change. It started by my complete surrender to Him. Paul says in (2 Corinthians 10:5-6), “…we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” Sounds easy enough, but trust me, it can be difficult. A lot of things had to change. I decided to do this by changing my game day friends. This didn’t mean just the people I hung out with on the day of the game, it meant I had to remove myself from the circumstance that put anything and everything ahead of God. It was only then that I started seeing joy as a person, and not an event.
Christ set me free. I still love college football, and I still have my hang-ups, but I don’t feel as fulfilled if Christ isn’t at the center of everything I do. I’m not suggesting you go sell your season tickets yet, or get rid of that old car you’ve been working on for 20 years. I’m suggesting you make a small adjustment in your life for huge benefits. The God of comfort, healing, love, and peace wraps me up in His arms each day if I allow Him to. If you feel moved enough to change your thinking, I would love to hear from you because I have some great news. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
Posted on Tue, October 6, 2015
by John Phipps