Everyone who competes in the games
goes into strict training.
They do it to get a crown that will not last,
but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
I Corinthians 9:25
♫ One, two, three strikes…you’re out…♫ in the ole ball game! ♫ ♪ The line from that old song is about all I know about baseball. So why I started thinking about the analogy between baseball and life, I do not know! But often times, the Lord just brings something to my mind that I would not have thought of myself.
In baseball, the goal of the pitcher is to strike out the batter before he can hit the ball and make any bases. (Now aren’t you impressed with my vast knowledge!) The pitcher will throw a fast ball (cutter), a curve ball (deuce), a split-finger fast ball (forkball) and many others in order to catch the batter off guard. (Isn’t the internet just a trove of trivia?!) Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on how vigilant and tuned in the batter is. It is not a game of chance, but of skill, persistence and heightened awareness. Are you starting to get my drift?
Life is often referred to as “the game of life”. Actually there is even a board game by that name. The Apostle Paul likens our spiritual walk in this life to an athlete running a race to win a prize, that prize of course, being ETERNAL LIFE! He talks about the stamina, focus and determination required to do it successfully. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
In any sport, we have to discipline our body to perform to its highest potential. Does my body want to be disciplined and trained? Of course not! Did you get what Paul said, “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave.” I know from experience, if you don’t master your body with its carnal desires and motives, it will master you and the result can be devastating! Sometimes I actually look in the mirror, look myself in the eye and say…“Stop it, Nancy! You are NOT going to do that! You are NOT going to think that way! You are NOT going to give in to that temptation!” The devil bombards your mind and emotions. He is just like that pitcher on the baseball field. If he can’t get you with a cutter, he’ll try a deuce and if he can’t strike you out with a deuce, he’ll try a forkball! And if he can’t send you to the dugout with any of those, he’ll invent something new.
The only chance you have of hitting a home run or at least running the bases is to be wary of his tactics. Look at some of the film footage in your own life. What balls did he throw at you previously? Bone up on your game by reviewing the old tapes and learning from them! Practice your swing until you can knock that ball completely over the fence and into the stands where it can’t be retrieved! Give the devil a black eye! The Book of James says this…“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
And if you do strike out sometimes, don’t quit! Step up to the plate again! Never give up and never give over! The games not over until you’re six feet under and I know you don’t plan on being there anytime soon!