"Coping with Life's Ups and Downs"
November 22, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
"[No] mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him"--but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
Charles Mann, a defensive football end for the Washington Redskins, was asked how he could reconcile a rough sport with his professed Christianity. He remarked, "If Christ were on the football field, He would not be a wimp but would stand His ground." Then, applying his faith to the problems of the greater game of life, he said, "It is not by my strength or my talents, but it is God who gives me the power and wisdom to deal with life's ups and downs."
Jesus was not a moral or physical weakling. For His cleansing of the temple, He made a "whip out of cords" (John 2:15) and drove the sacrificial cattle and the money changers from the temple precincts. A wimp would not have done this.
It is worth pursuing what the athlete said about the greater contests of life taking place off the athletic field. Many are marked by ups and downs, victories and defeats, gains and losses. On fields more uneven than football gridirons, we are confronted by opponents far deadlier than the opposing players: sin within us, the world of iniquity, the designing devil. To hold our own against them until God gives us the victory, we need more than our own strength and talents. We need what Saint Paul experienced: God's grace sufficient for us, with His power made perfect in our weakness.
What we also need to deal with life's ups and downs is wisdom. Wisdom is more than knowledge or a mental accumulation of facts. It includes the ability to make right judgments on the basis of the facts at hand. Experience helps in this. Discretion, too, is a part of wisdom. These assets, said the football player, come from God. Especially the highest wisdom, faith resting in Christ's redemption, comes from God through His Word. The "Holy Scriptures," writes Saint Paul, "are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). It is this wisdom that the Holy Spirit teaches and that He, through the Gospel, sustains in us. It is, in summary, the conviction that Christ Jesus gave His own life so that we might have forgiveness and the fullness of life.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving me the strength and wisdom to follow You through life's thick and thin. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)