To Be or not To Be?

I have a love-hate relationship with “America’s National Pastime.”

A baseball game can seemingly drag on forever when pitchers are dealing, fielders are stingy and runs are scarce. Then in the blink of an eye and one swing of the bat, a game can blow up like fireworks on the Fourth of July. I guess you could say the sport tests my patience. And I’m just a fan. Go Braves!

Imagine the skill and discipline required to decide in a millisecond whether or not to swing at a stitched cowhide-covered cork ball coming toward you at 100 miles per hour. Few sports are more humbling. Where else can you be successful just once out of every three attempts and still be considered an All-Star? But ask any Major League Baseball player and most would gladly go one for three at the plate with a .333 batting average.

True timing is the difference maker in the game of baseball. The timing of a pitcher’s release, a batter’s swing, an outfielder’s leap, or a base runner’s sprint can be the difference in winning or losing. Knowing when to go for it and make a move, or hold back and wait for another pitch makes baseball the proverbial cat-and-mouse challenge of the mind and body.

Similarly, knowing when to take a pitch or swing for the fences in the game of life is a hit or miss proposition. What might seem like the right decision in the moment can lack the wisdom of an eternal perspective. That’s why knowing whether or not to answer the door when opportunity knocks always requires supernatural wisdom.

God’s Word reminds us in Isaiah 55:9: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Ponder this: if a Christian can trust Christ with his or her eternity, how much more should they trust in His plans for their lives this his side of Heaven? What might that entail? Will you exchange your goals, desires, ambitions, plans, longings, career, all of who you are—past, present and future; good, bad and in between—for God’s glory and a life rich with meaning, purpose and fulfillment?

This isn’t a blind faith or monastic vow of self-denial. It’s about living intentionally to point people to Christ and spread God’s fame. When you join God’s team, this isn’t a Jesus+ game plan. Jesus doesn’t reside where He doesn’t preside. God doesn’t need our abilities, just our availability. And He invites His children to join Him on mission right where they are and then follow wherever He leads. Read Turn Your Season Around—How God Transforms Your Life to discover how God  can rescue, redeem and restore your life for His glory.

When Christ-followers put on God’s uniform, or His righteousness, their identity changes as well as their purpose and promise for their future. Jesus powerfully promises in John 15:5: “I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Just like humankind did nothing to deserve God’s unmerited favor and transcendent, unconditional love, Christians, likewise, can’t do anything for God’s glory apart from His equipping, empowering and enabling intervention.

Consequently, a Christ-follower must “be” before he or she can do anything of eternal value. As God’s image bearers, our intrinsic value isn’t found in what we do, but in Who created us. Human beings, not human doers, are the pinnacle of God’s creation.

Maybe that’s why The Holy Bible reminds us in Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’

To “be” starts with abiding in Christ. This means to acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord by surrendering, seeking, praying, following, waiting/resting, trusting, obeying, forgiving and loving like Jesus. Abiding in Christ is about syncing your life with God’s Word by trusting His timing, His plans, and His provision to fulfill His purpose for your life. To learn how some Major League Baseball players and coaches are doing just that, read Del Duduit’s Dugout Devotions II: Inspirational Hits from MLB’s Best.

Jesus asked His disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Him. The world would describe this as a loser’s proposition, however, in God’s economy you gain by losing. Surrendering to King Jesus is not merely waving the white flag. Instead, it’s carrying the Banner of Christ.

When you die to self to live for Christ, you’re endowed with His power and authority to thrive in any scenario. What is humanly impossible becomes possible such as: loving unconditionally; always being joyful; possessing a peace that passes all understanding; patiently enduring suffering; showing kindness to those who might seem undeserving or think they’re unworthy; sharing goodness even when it costs something; remaining faithful when others stray; responding with gentleness when hurting people hurt people; and exercising self-control when emotions strive to win the day.

Then, like a game-winning grand slam home run, the “Lord of the Harvest” brings the base runners home as Christ followers exchange their hearts, passions and plans for His. Meanwhile, God’s glory reigns, relationships flourish and lives are changed forever.

Now that’s what I want to be known for. How about you?

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