I coach our Junior Varsity Wildcats football and soccer teams. In order for my teams to be successful they must first be moving in the same direction. If the quarterback gets the ball and turns around to throw it behind the line then we can’t move toward the goal line. If the striker drives the ball toward the wrong goal then the other team scores and we lose. They don’t do these things because they listen to their coach and follow his instructions.The Church has been given a goal by Jesus when he ascended to Heaven after his resurrection.
“‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matt. 28:18-20).
By proclaiming the name of Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are proclaiming your allegiance to the team of God and to Jesus as your head coach. This team requires us to do our best, this team deserves our best, and it demands our best. Anyone who has ever played a sport knows that poor effort produces losses instead of victories. Playing on God’s team is no different. Poor spiritual effort will only lead to spiritual losses.
Paul understood this better than most. He tells the church in Corinth about the effort that must be given in order to receive our spiritual victory. “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air” (2 Cor. 9:25-26). Our training is provided in the Word of God. Our head coach is Jesus Christ, and he is assisted by the Holy Spirit and the spiritual mentors in our life. We must learn, train, and grow stronger so that “win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
In the end we may all be able to share in Paul’s exclamation in 2 Timothy 4:7. Let us be able to proclaim that we fought the good fight. Let us share the win with all those who have finished race and kept the faith.