By Doug Cox
(4 minute read)
I enjoyed basketball as a young teen and tried but failed to make the school team in my Junior High years. My alternative was the church team. To make it on its roster I didn’t have to be good at basketball, I just had to make it regularly to church meetings. That wasn’t hard because my parents made church going a must. Bottom line, I got to play, but we never won many games. Most teams ran circles around us except on those rare and lucky nights when the ball hog (my opinion) on our team hit most of his shots. (I think I’m still sour about having to sit on the bench so much). Anyway, most of the time our team was behind, and we would be forced to revert to our strategy of desperation, the full court press.
The full court press requires guarding every opposing player and every inch of the basketball court, until you gain the upper hand. It is really tiring for out of shape, unpracticed players. We had some skill but were lazy and didn’t practice that much. We had some other problems as well. We were overconfident of our abilities and underestimated our opponents. We didn’t think our coach knew what he was doing and struggled following his instructions. By now you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about a mostly failed part of my early teen life. Because it makes me wonder if this is how most of the church in America today has been doing church? I know it sounds critical, but there must be a reason why we have lost so much ground. When bars, pot shops and strip clubs are considered essential and churches are not, that tells me something is wrong. Something is missing.
Maybe we have for too long let the opposition advance the ball of worldliness too far without opposition. Too many on our side have hoped other players would handle the messy confrontive areas. We mentally elect another ministry to deal with Biblical marriage. We reason another ministry can take the responsibility of gender confusion and abortion. Another ministry should deal with false religion and evolution. We pray from the bench that things will change but never really engage in taking personally, the daily responsibility to live unashamed for Christ ourselves.
Back when the book of Hebrews was written it seemed they had lost the battle. They were being persecuted for their faith. They were being stripped of their rights and possessions. They were going through a great struggle of sufferings, yet the Holy Spirit inspired words told them not to give up. If you read through Hebrews 10 you will find they are told to have boldness in approaching Christ, so they must have been timid. They were told to encourage one another so maybe they had been discouraging one another. They were told not to forsake the assembling of themselves because they were isolating themselves from the body of Christ. It’s kind of like they were halfway fighting the battle. Finally, the Holy Spirit coaches them with some inspiring words we would do good to take hold of today.
He says, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise, for yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith, but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:35-39)
Friends it’s time the enemy of our souls starts hearing the shoes of willing men and women who love Jesus and their fellow man squeaking as they run up and down the court of life, not ashamed to glorify God, willing to contend for what’s right, defending against what is wrong. Beloved it’s time we all get in the battle and put on a full court press following the guidance of the Holy Spirit and leaving no one around us wondering if God loves them or not. No one is to be left thinking that God winks at sin. They will know that because they will see us repenting of ours. Everyone will see us loving one another and no one will be left thinking that Jesus and the church is nonessential.