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Playing from the Proper Perspective

Hello Friend~


The high school basketball season is underway. Did you know I played basketball in high school? Judging from the shocked look on your face, I haven’t mentioned it before. I admit, years ago hearing my name in connection with the sport didn’t exactly drive fear into the hearts of anyone. (Except maybe my own teammates.) I wasn’t the best player, but I did contribute to my team (especially in turnovers). 


One of the highlights of my basketball career was playing with one of my sisters. (Her name actually did make other teams nervous. She ended up getting a basketball scholarship.) My younger, and taller, sister played post, and I was a guard. I miss playing with her – watching high school basketball brings me back.


I’ve attended a number of basketball games this year. There were a couple in which a team got a healthy lead but continued to play as if they were playing from behind with desperation and nearly out of control. I wanted to hijack one of the time-outs and remind them they were ahead and going to win! 


Normally we have a different mindset when we know we’ll win versus facing an unavoidable loss. (If you want to talk about losing, I can tell you about my high school track experience. Apparently, I’m not fast or strong.) Remember what it was like to know the victory was yours? A little different from feeling there was no catching up, right? 


I used to live my Christian life with the mentality of fighting from behind. I was grasping for victory in different areas of my life, some with near desperation. I was scared my grip would lose strength, and I would forfeit any ground I finally gained. 


Then a number of years ago I began to understand a Truth from God’s Word: I didn’t have to gain the victory – I already had it through Christ. HE gained it, and my faith in Him secured it for me. I no longer had to fight FOR victory. Now I was able to live FROM and OUT of it. What seems like a subtle difference is actually a huge mentality shift. It changed my perspective from “playing from

behind” to knowing the win was guaranteed.



“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith” (I John 5:4, NLT).

What if we were recruited to join a basketball team? After getting over the shock of being asked (Just me – you’re an obvious shoo-in), we decide to go for it. At the first practice, we’re told that our team is guaranteed to win State – no ifs, ands, or buts about it. My first thought: “Well, I’ll be sitting on the bench.” But then the coach says that because the State title hinges on who he is, we all can play. Even with my turnovers we’re still assured victory. (High five – I’m going in!) 


Although the State championship is in the bag, we still have to go through the season. Some games are tough. In fact, teammates get injured, frustrated, and have a hard time listening to the coach. (Not us, of course.) Sometimes we come across an opposing team that’s intimidating and plays dirty. But the coach encourages us, reminding us to focus on Him and the victory we have because of Him. He knows what we focus on and our perspective in light of the big picture are a huge part of how we play our current “game.” 


“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, ESV). 

Are you focusing on Christ, or are you consumed by something else? Say an intimidating “opponent” for example? Just a few days ago I found myself stressed. I finally realized my stress was due to having the wrong perspective. I was encountering a “team” that I played before and had a rough time with. I remember the struggles I had the first time I faced them. I was well into the “second quarter” when I realized I needed a “timeout” with God to reestablish the “offense.” (Yes, I’m aware the basketball references have gotten out of hand.)


After bringing my concerns before God, I felt at peace again. He helped me regain proper perspective by reminding me to turn my eyes back to Him and off the uncomfortable situation. Even though I still had to go through it, I was no longer overwhelmed by the negativity of it. Its presence shrunk when God’s Presence entered the picture. 


“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jeus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (I Corinthians 15:57-58, ESV).

What perspective are you living your life out of? Might we be encouraged to live from a place of peace, understanding we already possess victory through Christ – we aren’t playing from behind without hope. May we remain immovable in Christ, focusing on the big picture as we endure “game” after “game.”




Go team! (Sorry. I’m done now.)


Victorious in Christ,

Candace

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