Check Your Heart
Last week as this all started to hit a bit closer to home we, as a sports loving family, had a discussion. First the Big 12 Tournament was cancelled and then March Madness. When the NCAA cancelled spring sports, I told my daughter it was possible her freshman track season may not happen. She was upset.
It was then we had to step back. It was a great opportunity to check our hearts and truly see what was number one. Sports are good and teach countless life lessons, but they can be an idol in our lives. This break in our normal routine and our response to what is missed is a good opportunity to check our hearts. Do we truly live out Deuteronomy 6:5? It says, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." How about Exodus 20:3? "You shall have no other gods before me."
In this time of unknown, we must remember TRUTH. It can be easy to be consumed with what we don't know and worry about what is to come, but it is helpful to remember what we know. A few verses that bring me peace and perspective are -
And when the smelled the pleasing aroma, the said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done." (Genesis 8:21)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
As we look to the future it's powerful to remember God's faithfulness in the past. Remembering who God is (faithful, powerful, present, good, etc...) helps us trust Him more and equips us to live out the suggestions that follow.
When events are being cancelled and our lives aren't as busy, we must remember there is always something we can (and must) do. Friend, we can pray. We can cry out to God, the creator of the world, the one who has planned the future and understands what we don't. He instructs us to cry out to Him. We can ask for help, wisdom, patience, whatever it is we need. Pray for your family, your church, your friends, doctors, leaders, all who come to mind. God hears and answers.
"Then you will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you." (Jeremiah 29:12)
As I mentioned we are a sports loving family, so we understand the importance of practice. Every competitor knows they must improve their skills and work on them daily; the same can be said for believers. It's one thing to know what the Bible says, but it's another to do it. As I thought about this today a few of the first things that came to my mind were about using my words wisely, controlling my thoughts and being content. God provides endless directions and priceless wisdom, it will benefit us and those around us if we live out His Word. Here are a few verses to get you started -
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)
Know God and Make Him Known
Our lives for the next few weeks will most likely look different than we expected. The change in schedule will most likely give us time to do things we normally don't; as we wait we can waste our time or make the most of it. One of the best things we can do in this time is get to know God more. Without the need to go to another game or event, we can spend time in God's Word and prayer. We can cultivate the relationship we have with one we never have to be seperated from.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ... (Philippians 3:8)
As we get to know God it is important to remember we can also make Him known. In a time when others are anxious and losing hope as believers it's important to live out 1 Peter 3:15 - "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..."
Friend, the situation we all face should leave us grateful for the faith we have. Times like this remind us we are not in control, but hopefully they will turn more to the One we know has everything under control. I write these words for you and me because this isn't a winter storm that will be over in a few days. We're all in the unknown together, but through it all may we remember the One we know. Our world has changed, but our God has not.