October 7, 2020
Thank you for praying this Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. We are longing to see God’s power and might be made visible in our lives. J.I. Packer, who was born in 1926 and recently went to be with the Lord, once said, “The task of the church is to make the invisible kingdom visible through faithful Christian living and witness-bearing.”
This is exactly what Paul was saying to the Galatian believers in chapter three. I like how the Passion Translation puts it, “For the Scriptures reveal, and it is obvious, that no one achieves the righteousness of God by attempting to keep the law, for it is written: “Those who have been made holy will live by faith!”’ (Gal. 3:11).
To live under the bondage of legalistic rule is to live under the curse of the law (Gal. 3:10). Law-keeping does not require faith, but rather self endeavor. The righteous ones, the holy ones, live by faith in our Savior who fulfilled and satisfied every demand the law could give. The wonder of grace is that we rest in Christ and can enjoy the freedom to live faithful lives.
With MLB presently in the Division Series, and the World Series just around the corner, let’s take a few examples from Christian players who accepted Christ and are living for God. What does it mean to live faithfully? Let’s consider three important ways:
Firstly, it means putting God first in every decision. Juan D’Vaughn Pierre, who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 1998, won the world series with the Marlins in 2003. He went on to play with the Cubs, Dodgers, White Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies. He was known for his speed. He stole 614 bases in his career and was in the major leagues for 11 years. He said that baseball had become his god. While he believed in God, he was not committed to Him.
Through the help of Dodgers’ chaplain, Chad Johnson, God was breaking Juan down, and he came to understand the plan of salvation and the purposes God had for his life. He surrendered his life to Christ and the peace of God filled his heart. He was disciplined, hard-working, and sought to glorify God in everything he did.
Putting God first doesn’t mean great heroics, but rather bringing Him into consideration with every decision both big and small.
Secondly, living faithfully means trusting God in difficult times. Pitcher Darin Downs accepted Christ during the 2004 off season after meeting Christy who is now his wife. He started going to church with her family, and after his salvation said, “I knew about Jesus in my head but had never received Him into my heart.”
In 2009, he almost lost his life on the field when he was hit in the head by a line drive. Instantly, his speech was gone. He was terrified as he rode to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. And yet, as he lay on the stretcher, praying and holding the cross around his neck, he found peace and hope in knowing that God could help him regardless of the outcome. Since then he has been applying the Lord’s Word into his life, marriage, and family.
Life is filled with the unexpected, yet it is the uncertainty of it that drives us to our knees and to our God. David experienced this and wrote, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and He will” (Ps. 37:5).
Thirdly, it means sharing God with those who don’t know Him. David Murphy who played for the Red Sox, the Rangers, the Indians, and the Angels, retired in 2016. He didn’t hide his faith. He shared it every single game!
He said, “Why not use every opportunity to spread the Word? I pray during the national anthem at each game. I prayed that I would be playing for His glory and not mine. It would be great if everyone knew me as David Murphy, the All-Star, or David Murphy, the World Series Champion, but I've set my priorities straight. I'd love to be looked at as David Murphy, Man of God.”
Sharing your faith with others involves your whole person. It encompasses what you say and don’t say, how you listen, how you act and react, how you give and care for those in need, and the list goes on. In writing to the Ephesians, Paul says, “So be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good” (Eph. 5: 15-16).
We may not be MLB players, but we are still able to make an impact for God. May He enable us by His Holy Spirit to live faithfully today!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel