Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Act Like You've Been There Before

This post continues the series on my efforts to read the Bible in 90 days.  If you care to catch up on previous entries, they can be found here or just click on the "90 Days" label at the end of the post.

I like watching a football player score a touchdown, make a simple gesture or simply drop the ball, and then jog from the field.  Coaches will sometimes say that when you make it to the endzone, you need to act like you've been there before.  In other words, you know the taste of victory and you know how to hold your head high win or lose.  It shows an appreciation for the effort and respect for the opponent.

When my journey of reading through the Bible took me from Moses to Joshua and into the book of Judges, this idea pervaded my thoughts.  The Hebrews had been promised this land.  God had made a covenant with Abraham many years ago, and while the people may have begun to wonder if it would ever happen, God had given every indication that his word could be trusted.

Moses and his generation did not see this promised land.  It was theirs for the taking, but they approached it with an attitude that had already been defeated.  Only Joshua and Caleb were able to look on this land from the perspective of Victors, and decades later it would only be Joshua and Caleb who entered the land as victors.

When we approach life from this perspective, we confront our challenges head on instead of avoiding them or giving in to them.  We take hold of the opportunities that we are given.  We accept that it may be hard, and the timing may not be in our hands, but our hope keeps us focused on our goals.

After entering the Promised Land, the battles didn't end.  There was still work to be done.  So it is true in our lives.  But when we approach our struggles from the perspective of victors rather than victims, we are able to live up to the coach's advice to "act like we've been there before."  Yes, we face adversity, and yes there will be setbacks along the way.  But with the confidence provided by our faith, we can face this adversity in a way that shows we appreciate the effort and that we respect the opponent.

As winners, we don't have to run up the score.  We can even appreciate the small victories of our opponents and hope they become better for them.  We don't have to be bitter, or get inflamed by the refs; the rules don't cause us harm, even if they've been stacked against us.  When we're taunted or cheated, we can call it for what it is without demanding retribution.  And we can always reach out to lift up those who have been knocked down so that when it's all over and we meet to shake hands we can look our opponents in the eye, and they can look right back at us, and appreciate a game well played.

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