Saturday, June 28, 2014

I'm giving up sports, and some other things...

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

I grew up a sports fan. I grew up loving sports. I have been a huge fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Falcons, and the Atlanta Braves. I have also had a "following interest" in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. 

I even used to tell people that it was "Biblical" to be a Braves fan. After all, God said to Joshua, "be strong and courageous." Another word for courageous is BRAVE. In other words, "be a Brave." And for the Pharisees who happen upon this blog: I said that as a joke, not as a true Biblical command. However, it did sum up a lot of my feelings about "my team."

I've long since stopped watching sports. Giving up TV will do that. However, I have kept up through sports talk radio. I drive a truck for a living. Drive time needs to be filled right? 

However, I came to a decision not long ago. I've stopped listening to sports radio, talk radio, and any secular entertainment, at all (of any kind). Basically, if something isn't Christian oriented, I'm not listening, watching, or reading it. 

But, what's the harm? It's just a sports team. Are you saying sports are sinful? 

In and of themselves? No. There's nothing wrong with the games themselves. 

However, sports are permeated with much evil: gambling, ungodly ads, ungodly ideas being spouted by the talking heads, scantily clad "cheerleaders" (I realize you can't see them if you don't watch it, but I'm supporting it by listening). 

But, this is not the main reason I'm quitting. The real reason is about my life. 

I'm not getting any younger. I'm 48 years old. I had a heart attack last year. I have Arthritis in my back, Diabetes, and high blood pressure. I also have a blood condition that causes my blood to clot too much. I take 6 pills a day just to stay alive.

My mom died in 1999 at the age of 55. Others in my family tree have died between 50 and 55. Though I may live another 20 or 30 years (the Lord willing), it's not even a given that I will live out this day I'm in, much less live to be over 90 like my grandma. 

As such, I'm taking personal inventory of my life. I need to spend more time with my God and family. Sports and other distractions may not be sinful, but they are time thieves. And once that time is gone, I can never get it back. 

I have also noticed that, since I've stopped these activities and have begun to surround myself with godly and edifying things, my attitude has begun to change. I don't get angry as quickly. Some of the things that used to really get under my skin, don't bother me like they did. I'm becoming less harsh and more caring. 

I've also begun to feel a drawing to a deeper place in God. A closer walk with him. I feel like I'm peering through a window into God's house. I'm able to catch a glimpse of what he's drawing me to, but I can't experience it or get a clear view of it. I want to go inside and see what's for dinner!

Am I perfect? No. But, I'll never even get close unless I try. Grace is a partnership, not a free pass. I've got to try.

I want more of Jesus. I must increase and he must decrease. I want to become saturated in him. I want to be used of him in ways I never imagined, so I'm clearing away the clutter. 

There's no sports team in existence that can offer me the joy of one minute with Jesus. There's no TV show, movie, book, computer game, website, etc, than can fulfill me like Jesus can. In fact, the "satisfaction" that we feel with these distractions doesn't last and leaves us empty.

Yet, time spent with family, friends, and especially Jesus gives satisfaction that can never be lost. 

So, I'm clearing away the clutter. I'm not gonna spend near as much time online as I have before. 

I can live without football. I cannot live without Jesus. I can live with less Facebook. I crave more time with Jesus and my family.

I have a job to do that has nothing to do with delivering Ice Cream to stores. I am called to love Jesus. I am called to love and lead my family. I am called to love people and help them along their journey to and with Jesus. 

I have books to finish and proofread. I have songs to sing, lessons to teach, sermons to preach, and prayers to lift up to the throne. I have hugs to give, and quality time to spend with my family and friends.

My priorities need to be Jesus, my wife (Della Mae), my children, my grandchildren, others, my job, and then myself. Giving in to lot's of entertainment places ME above all else. Some entertainment (as long as it's godly) is OK. Lot's of entertainment weighs us down and hinders our walk with God and our relationships with our loved ones. 

Pray for me as I keep myself in check and strive for a closer walk with Jesus and my family. I will do the same for you.