Playing on Jesus' Team?
By Stacie Ruth Stoelting
Think partying with the rich and famous would be awesome? It’s not. How do I know? As a recording artist, author, and speaker, I attend special events with the rich and famous.
I stick with a fellow Christian attendee, pray beforehand, and enter the battleground (a.k.a. high-profile awards event or party). Handsome men, loaded with wealth and wine, morph into ugly drunks. They slur and leer at me. Grandfatherly types hit on me and flip my stomach. To their smelly “Hey there’s,” I cringe, “Stay there!” and move on to converse with catty women.
The drunken gorgeous become gross. It is not fun. But I attend (always with a fellow believer) because I share Jesus with others and have seen God work. Then I leave early!
Today, many play on the Reasoning Team, the losing team that makes wrong living seem right. Reasoning teammates airbrush sin (anti-God ways). But sweetened poison still kills. A beautifully wrapped bomb still explodes. A foul ball remains a foul ball.
Recently, a famous quarterback played poorly. (He will remain anonymous for his most ardent fans’ sake.) Commentators raised brows, shook heads, and used deep voices to say something like:
“Well, hey, what’d he expect? He didn’t train hard… Missed practice— Got suspended a couple a times—”
“And I hear he sure partied. But, man, he needs to work to play well. Partying instead of playing won’t work…”
Is Jesus your daily planner? Does the Word or the world most influence your daily life? The world offers sweetened arsenic: It’s delicious, but deadly. It tells us that it’s our location that makes us unhappy. In reality, it’s the location of our hearts.
What’s important is not where we live, but whom we live for.
Are you playing on the losing side (the Reasoning Team) or acting like it? Here’s a quick quiz. (I’m going to take it, too. We’re all equal here!)
Are You Playing On or Copying the “Reasoning Team”?
Answer “yes” or “no” to each of the following questions.
1. Do I always think that others are making mistakes yet ignore my own?
Newsflash: Players always think it’s “other people” who have the problem. That’s what the devil wants you to do. Calluses collect on consciences.
Examples of Reasoning Team Plays:
• drinking socially (and legally) until it rules your decisions and becomes an addiction
• watching sex-filled movies and thinking it doesn’t affect your lust level
• turning to horoscopes instead of turning to God
• dating for romantic or intellectual entertainment – without concern for others’ hearts
• ignoring others’ needs because of feeling overwhelmed
• saying you’ll do something and never doing it, etc.
2. Am I reasoning to make a wrong seem right? Remember: Right + Masked Wrong = Wrong
Now, fill in the equation with something in your life. For me, I filled it in with “Wisdom + Worry (Masked as Intellectual Analysis) = Wrong.” I had to toss out the worry and replace it with “Trusting God” to make it right.
3. Do I think of ways to make myself happy and ignore God?
4. Do I make others feel wrong when they approach me about what is right? (Reasoning pros make the correct person appear unreasonable.)
5. Do I avoid thinking about the fact that God knows everything about my daily life and cringe at God’s omniscience (all-knowingness)? Players fool everyone but the Holy One. “Would not God discover this? For He knows the secrets of the heart.” (Ps. 44:21, AMP.)
6. Do I dread the day when Jesus will return? (Would you have been pleased with how you celebrated New Year’s if Jesus had returned that day?)
7. Do I talk about doing great things for God yet never do them?
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” –Jesus (Matt. 15:8, NKJV)
Answer Assessment: If you answered “yes” to one or more questions, you’ve been playing on (or acting like) the Reasoning Team, a losing team coached by the devil.
Dazzling hope exists for everyone still breathing –no matter how long he/she has played on the wrong team! Here’s how to join Jesus’ team and win:
- Recognize that you’ve broken the Big Ten. (I certainly have!) But Jesus took the penalties for all of your bad plays (sins). Think of it this way: Jesus died as an all-perfect, living effigy of you on the cross to take the death penalty for you, _______. He took the punishment that your sins (anti-God ways and mistakes) deserve. If you accept Him, turn from anti-God ways, and ask Him to rule your life, you’ll join the winning team: Jesus’ team!
- Discover God’s love for you. Yes! “…the LORD your God loves you.” (Excerpt from Deuteronomy 23:5, NIV). He sent His Son with love.
- Talk to Jesus from your heart and ask Him to rule your life and save it. When we accept Jesus, God accepts us forever –no matter what! "Say the welcoming word to God--'Jesus is my Master'--embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not 'doing' anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation." (Rom.10:9, MSG)
- Great news: When you delight yourself in God, your joy in Jesus totally surpasses the world’s imitation! (Times of sorrow occur, too. But Christians always have Jesus to hold them, a purpose to suffering, and joy-filled victory in the end.) Jesus’ joy far exceeds the artificial happiness from anti-God living (sinning):
- “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.” (Ps. 4:7, NIV)
- “They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.” (Ps. 36:8, NKJV)
For every player, someday it will flash: “Game Over.” Hey! The clock’s ticking. Only with Jesus will you win. Are you on the winning team? Be sure. Click here.
Note from the Author:
Connected! isn’t a typical monthly column. Think of it as an e-mail. Feel free to reply. Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or add me to your "Friends" on Facebook. After all, I want to be a friend and introduce you to my Best Friend, Jesus Christ. We’ll cover issues relevant to our generation. Most of all, we’ll connect with Christ. If you don’t know how to connect with Him yet, click here.
As a Christian singer who, in her words, “counters the counter-culture,” Stacie Ruth Stoelting and Bright Light Ministry share how to have true victory over tragedies and trials. She loves Jesus! And she loves to help people. (She knows what it feels like to “wistfully wish for help.” That memory helps to ignite her passion to help others.) Though young, she already has experience: At 15, Stacie Ruth wrote Still Holding Hands: Bonus Tips for Caregivers & Tips for Helping Families Facing Alzheimer’s, depicting her grandparents’ romance, and victory over Alzheimer’s. Celebrities (i.e. Pat Robertson) endorsed it and/or Bright Light Ministry. At 20, she sang for President Bush. In dramatic programs for all ages, she speaks, acts, sings and entertainingly inspires. Feel free to invite her to speak and/or sing at your church or school. Visit www.brightlightministry.com.
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