God spoke to my heart (or lovingly confronted me) this week with these thoughts:
“I count you in, and you count yourself out.
And take your voice out of play.
I put you in the game, give you the play, and you are afraid to run it.”
Can you tell that He’s talking to a football coach’s wife?
I love how He speaks our language.
To which I responded, “Really?” Do I really do that? I wasn’t sure where He was going with this yet.
And He reminded me of this instance with Paul, “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derby. After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.'” Acts 14:19-22
Paul didn’t get dragged out of the city and conclude that his ministry was over, that he was not an effective witness, or that his message was flawed in some way. He did not make any such conclusions from that ‘setback’.
He did not take himself out of the game. Instead he got up, went back into the city, and kept on giving the message he was given to preach. He stayed on task.
God continued with these instruction to my heart:
“You get ‘knocked down’, but get back up again. Do not run to the sidelines. Stay in the game! Stay.
Don’t run off.
Don’t give up.
You are tempted to give up too quickly and close your mouth too fast and retreat. Don’t do that.”
If you, dear Reader, are in that place of discouragement and are temped to ‘shut down’, quit, run to the sidelines and take a seat on the bench, I pray that God would use this to encourage you as well to stay in the game. We all take a few hard tackles and get knocked down. We face harsh criticism or are faced with circumstances that are not what we always dreamed of.
And there are for sure some satisfying results from sitting on the bench. You get some REST. You are not required to put all that time and strenuous effort into something that may not be producing the results that you imagined. You are not taking ‘hits’ or risks.
We ARE all team players with a purpose and a calling. We have a job to do and a position to fill, and as nice as it is to rest on the sidelines of life and just watch the game played out in front of us, we can all testify that it is miserably uncomfortable to avoid what you know you are called to.
Yet it takes courage sometime to put yourself at risk again.
So if you have currently taken yourself ‘out of the game’ (even just in heart- you are still going through the motions ‘on the field’, but you are not really battling with all you’ve got, with all the time, talents, and gifts that God has given), today is God’s encouragement for you to get back out there and give it all you’ve got (with Him, you have all you need for life and godliness -2 Peter 1:3).
And play the next play.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Eph. 2:10
Be about your mission!
“..fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5