My senior year of High School was one of the most fun years of my life because I played on an awesome football team. We made it all the way to the State Championship game, and played in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at The University of Florida. One moment in particular leading up to the state championship game stands out when my school played Pace High School in Miami. They won the State Championship the year before and with a win in this game; my school would go on to the state title game. The game was intense. We would score, and then they would score. It was back and forth the whole night. We ended up winning 33-21. It seemed much closer than that at the time.
When we won that game you would have thought the Jefferson Dragons had won the Super Bowl. That feeling of accomplishment and joy stuffed out everything else in the world and the only thing that mattered was that we were going on to the State Finals. We were hugging everyone and celebrating with complete strangers. For some reason everyone wanted to sing and rejoice! It is a feeling only understood by those who have ever done something big in sports. Hit the game winning home run, catching the game winning touchdown, or making the buzzer beater shot. If you have ever played a sport, you know the feeling I am talking about. It is intense, it is awesome, and it is amazing!
I had a conversation about this with a friend of mine who played baseball in high school but now is a worship leader. We were reminiscing about the good old days and shared stories of awesome sports moments. He changed the conversation and asked, “How come that feeling of great joy and happiness is only found on the sports field? How come we can’t feel this way about Christ?” That question hit me in the gut. I am a pastor. I do a lot of Christian related stuff. Why don’t I get excited like that? I am doing far greater things now than stopping a guy from tackling my quarterback.
When was the last time you were excited about the fact that you are reconciled to the God who you were at enmity with and are no longer in the slave market of sin? I am not pointing fingers. I am just wondering why this doesn’t happen as often as it should. God’s redemptive plan is far great than any sport we could play or watch. The Super Bowl only matters until the next season starts. Christ’s redemptive work on the cross impacts Eternity.
I heard Matt Chandler at a conference breakdown Hebrews 12:1-2. He said we need to examine what stirs our affections for Christ and what robs our affections for Him. Whatever stirs your affections for Christ, you need to strive for that as hard as you can. Whatever robs your affections you need to avoid. Chandler is on to something. Whenever you see Christians in the Bible most excited about people coming to Christ or about what the Lord is doing they are zoned out about the Lord. The reason we don’t get the joy in Christ like we do in sports is because we are not fixing our eyes on Him. We get distracted and then we get complacent in our distractions. When we are complacent in our distractions, the simplest things apart from Christ seem so wonderful. We are too easily entertained. The good news is the inverse is true as well. When we are fixated on Christ the simplest things about Christ give us great joy.
The lack of excitement in the things of the Lord is not because there isn’t anything exciting in Christ but my standard of what is exciting is flawed. One reason why Paul had so much joy and said crazy stuff like “To live is Christ and die is gain” wasn’t because he was naïve but because he was so zoned out for Christ that everything else compared to Jesus seemed trivial. Seeing someone who was once dead in their sins and trespasses, following the prince of the power of the air, and was an enemy of Lord but is now a redeemed and reconciled son of the living God is far greater than your favorite sports team winning the big game. If I begin to lose sight of that, I am falling into idolatry. Keep your eyes on Christ!
Frank Gil is a graduate from Trinity College of Florida; he is the youth and young adult pastor Christ Community Church in Tampa, FL. Married his wife Corinne in December of 2008 and has a dog named Dumbledore. Amateur graphic designer and professional Christian Hip Hop fan. Enjoys growing his beard, watching 300, and studying Theology. He blogs at FrankGil.me and YouthMin.org.