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Be faithful and strong in order to win with God
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It’s almost here. Are you ready for it? It’s just around the corner. Only a few more days.

What am I talking about? Football season! Did you hear that noise? It was a combination of collective groans and cheers. Some of you are so excited, you can’t stand it. Others dread the time, knowing that you may not hear from certain family members for the next few months.

I like college and pro football, but I am really looking forward to the high-school season. It has been my privilege to do the public address for the Bryan County Redskins for the last six years, and I am excited about the upcoming season.

In fact, fans on both ends of the county have reason for anticipation. Both the Redskins and Richmond Hill’s Wildcats are coming off winning seasons with lots of starters and other key players returning. Coaches Wilson and Guy have lots of reasons for optimism.

But I know something about coaches: They are never satisfied. They may be optimistic, but they always temper that optimism with realism. And they will spend a good deal of time this month preaching — yes, that is the right term — to their players about the need to stay diligent. They will make sure that the players continue to work hard in the weight room and on the field. And the coaches also will do their best to monitor the players’ classwork to make certain the players stay up to date with their academic work. They will seek to assure that the players are not satisfied, and that they will continue to give their best efforts.

The lessons learned on a football field — or volleyball court, cross-country course or any other athletic endeavor — often are the kinds of lessons we need to learn in life. Paul used such images to encourage his readers to remain faithful and diligent in their pursuit of godly living. He challenged Timothy by saying, “I have run the race.” Paul knew that living for the Lord was a challenge; it requires hard work and dedication.

I am not saying that we earn salvation. That is far from what the Bible says. But for those who are Christians, we must remain faithful. Living for Christ may require us to go back to the weight room of Bible study and prayer. We may need to run a few extra laps of service to others. But, oh, the joys of victory when we have completed the task!

I encourage you to approach the Christian life as a football player would approach his season. Be faithful. Be strong. Be committed. God will reward every effort you make in his service.

Don’t give up. Keep at it. You’ll be glad you did.

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