Monday, December 17, 2018

Having a Sports Fan's Kind of Faith

As a Texas Rangers fan, I've been a little disappointed the last few years. After two years of being spoiled by World Series appearances, they haven't won a single significant game in October for a while now. But I grew up cheering for and believing in a Rangers team that never went to the postseason. Every year, I started out thinking, this could be the year they win it all. Every game I believed they could win. I didn't care if they were down by 12 runs going into the bottom of the ninth inning. I didn't care if they were so far behind half-way through the season they would have to win almost all of their games to make the playoffs. I believed in my team, even when the odds were stacked against them and it seemed impossible. After all, a true fan always believes in his team, no matter how bleak the outlook.

That kind of stubborn faith, that believes in spite of circumstances, is similar to the faith we should have in our God. In Matthew chapter 4, Jesus had been led by the Spirit into the wilderness where Jesus went without food or drink for 40 days and nights until the Devil showed up to tempt him. The Devil's first temptation should have been very difficult to resist for a man who had been hungry for more than a month. After 40 days of hunger Satan tempted Jesus to abuse his power to create some bread and alleviate his hunger. Jesus' response?  He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”
(Matthew 4:4, HCSB).

You see, we talk about believing that God can sustain us even when we don't have what we need, but Jesus lived it. Jesus turned down food after 40 days of hunger because he trusted God to sustain him. After all, Jesus had survived more than a month without food when the human body was only designed to survive for a couple of days without water and a little longer without food. Jesus' continued survival was a demonstration of God's ability to sustain. Even when God hadn't provided the food, God had sustained the life.

Do you really believe you can survive on the word of God, on God's promises and God's unseen power? Or do you talk like you do and then worry when no-one is watching? Can you turn down something you need because getting it requires moral compromise or do you have to do the "practical thing." Simply put, do you really believe God can sustain your life without providing the need or do you just talk a good game? Do you live by bread alone or are your sustained by the word of God?

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