DayBreaks for 10/17/17: A Worldwide Competition
From the DayBreaks archive, October 2007:
We’re fond of talking about winning a world championship when it comes to our sports here in the United States. We tend to assume that anything we do in the sports world is better than anything anyone else can do anywhere else in the world. Consider: it’s almost time for the October Classic – otherwise known as the World Series. But think about that? How can it be the “World Series” when only teams from the United States and a few Canadian teams are involved? What about all the baseball played in the Caribbean, in Japan, or other places around the world? “Sure,” I can hear you say, “but they’re not as good as American teams.” I don’t know – that may be true. But remember – we felt that way about our National Basketball League players who were defeated in a few past Olympics. So much for the assumption that we just naturally the best, the world champions.
Then, of course, there are folks like my wife. I love her dearly, and over the years we’ve been married, we’ve developed some similar tendencies, but we’re also very different people. In some things, I LOVE competition. In anything, she HATES it. When you’re dealing with an area that I know something about and have some skills developed, I don’t mind competing – at least as long as the competition is friendly. But, take me out of my comfort zone, or put me in an arena where I don’t know the competitors or spectators, and I may tend to withdraw out of fear of failure. Fear of failure probably keeps more people from competitive activities than anything else. We don’t want to look stupid or to embarrass ourselves.
In his book, Hearing God, Dallas Willard describes a conference he attended, when someone asked him what was the human issue that Jesus came to address (as opposed to theological issue, I suppose). He answered: “Jesus came to respond to the universal human need to know how to live well. He came to show us how through reliance on him we can best live in the universe as it really is. That is why he said, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (Jn. 10:10). His supremacy lies in the greatness of the life he gives to us. Putting Jesus Christ into a worldwide competition with all known alternatives is the only way we can give our faith a chance to prove his power over the whole of life.”
I must confess, I’d never thought about “putting Jesus Christ into a worldwide competition” before. But stop and think about it for a minute. Why are we afraid of putting Jesus front and center into the marketplace of thought and ideas and belief systems that are targeted at helping people live better lives? Could it be because we are projecting our fears of failure on Him? That we’re afraid that when it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, that He somehow won’t pass the test? That the life He tries to teach us to live isn’t perhaps the best life that there could possibly be?
I fear that we let our fears keep us from putting Christ into a competition with anything that the world has to offer. We are to “contend earnestly for the faith” – contending is a term from warfare and from competition. Are we afraid that Christ will somehow fail to win in a competition against lies, deceit and falsehood? It won’t happen.
How can you put Jesus front and center on the stage of the world in which you live?
PRAYER: Father, help us to have full and complete faith and trust in You. Help us to not project fears about our failures onto Your ability to contend for the hearts and minds of those who don’t know You. Give us spirits of boldness and courage to carry Your name with us wherever we go! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.