Keep Your Eyes Up

Basketball is a great sport that I always wanted to be good at but never quite got the hang of it.  I do love watching those play who are good though.  As a youth I played on several church teams. My instructions consisted of chase that guy and stand between him and the goal.  If you get the ball, throw it to someone who can shoot.  I have always been amazed at those who can take the ball up and down the court without even thinking about the fact that they have to keep dribbling or stop.  I know several people that can dribble as natural as they can walk.  The ball becomes part of their body movement.  Over the years I remember one fundamental of basket ball.  When first learning to dribble, you must fight the urge to watch your hand bounce the ball up and down. Why? You must look up and see the goal, your teammates and your adversaries.  I was reminded of this as I spoke with our church staff this morning.

Everyone's lives including my own are filled with situations, needs, dilemmas, struggles and trials. Many things that we cannot or should not attempt to control end up taking every ounce of strength we have. We become so focused on our circumstances (like dribbling a basketball) we lose the greater picture of the game we are playing. (Life).  I was reminded of these scriptures this morning.

  • Colossians 2:20  20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world?

Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ are set free from the evil and temptations of this current world. It does not say we will not experience temptation and trying times but the scripture does say we have a way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Colossians 2:20 leads to the "So, if . . ." statement starting in chapter 3 verse 1.

  • Colossians 3:1-4 1 So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

To Keep Our Eyes Up In Difficult Times We Must

1) Look Up: Remember we are seeking a different prize than those who have not placed their faith and trust in Christ. We are not better than them, we just have another direction to follow which is a strength greater than ourselves to draw upon. That whole concept is foreign to them. Paul reminds us to look up and seek Christ. Much like a basketball player seeks to put the ball through the basket we should remember that our goal is to be like Christ. By looking up we can see our adversaries, but more importantly, those on our team who can help us.

2) Flip The Switch: When Paul says to, "Set your mind . . ." he is reminding us that the decision to NOT look at our surroundings and to look up to God is not our natural default,. It is an intentional decision. There will always be someone or some situation seeking to demand our time, energy and faith. Make the effort to not let another's crisis become yours. Pray for them, help them as God leads but do not let them keep your eyes off of Christ.

3) Keep The Faith: This world is not our home. We do not have home court advantage. The referees play by their own rules. The game we are playing here in our world is simply a scrimmage for a greater one that we have already one because we have Jesus Christ as our star player.

Continue to work out your faith. Be intentional in spending time with God through prayer, reading the Bible and spending time with other believers. At the sound of the last whistle, our scrimmage here will be over and our greatest game will begin. Have hope today and in the midst of your struggles, keep your eyes up!