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Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

If you follow Chris and me on Twitter, you are aware that Cooper Acuff is the most up-and-coming basketball player in the Kindergarten and 1st Grade Instruction League in town.  He scored 2 points in the last two games — the game-winning shot in the last game.  We fully believe that shot was with purpose and that he was holding out the entire 36 minutes to bring his team to victory in the end.

What’s surprising, to me, is Cooper’s reaction when he scores.

There is no smile or celebration, not even a little fist pump; he looks at the score board.

Even amidst the cheering, the adrenaline, the buzzing, his focus is fixed on winning.

Cheering

Does cheering make you lose your focus?  When those around us see us as something we’re not, showering us with praise, it sometimes causes our view to blur.  We begin to believe things that aren’t true and trade the majesty of the Lord’s for our own.  Don’t misunderstand, we should encourage and edify one another, but glorifying is reserved for the Lord.  Fix your gaze on him and not the praise of men.

Adrenaline

The truth about Cooper is that he is the smallest on the team.  Only once has he scored in practice.  One of the reasons we are so excited about his 4 points is because we didn’t think we would see them this year.  He hasn’t really shown the ability to get the ball within one inch of the rim.  So, we have chalked-up his game-scoring to adrenaline.

Adrenaline can be a very good instrument.  It can cause us to accomplish tasks we never thought possible. But, it can also force us to lose our gaze quicker than the shot of a gun.  Have you ever seen a runner tire out because they quickened their pace on race day, even though they diligently practiced that very pace for months?  Not busyness, but regular, planned solitude and communion with Him must be our stride. When we look stealthily toward Christ, there is an even strain with which we work toward our goal, never wreaking an awkward imbalance.

Buzzing

Do you have the ability to shut out the surrounding, negative noise, keeping your feet planted in the identity Christ has set for you?  Perhaps no distraction is greater to our surveying of God than noise — whether it be negativity, untruth or a warped identity. We can drown out the noise by replacing our words/thoughts with His, in other words, speaking the gospel to ourselves and having others speak the gospel into our lives.

Goals/Prizes

Let’s get back to the basketball star for a minute.  Cooper likes to score.  He loves to win.  I think that’s a pretty good mindset.  God has called us to certain goals; we strive to accomplish those goals.  But, our eyes are fixed on the win.  That’s what keeps us going.  Don’t let cheering, adrenaline and buzzing cut in on you.

“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:10-14)

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