By September 21, 2012 Max Out Blog

At a volleyball tournament recently, I watched an interesting phenomena unfold. An entire week of preparation by coaches and athletes was put to the fire throughout a ten hour day of strategy, execution, action, reaction, prosperity, and adversity. For those that were engaged all morning during pool play, there was no question where the rankings were going to stand heading into the tournament bracket for the afternoon. For the parents, grandparents, and siblings that came and went from the gymnasium though, there were always misconstrued expectations. They weren’t there to see how each team ebbed or flowed together, how accurate the serves were, how dominant the net play was, or how the score board played out.

Inevitably, the question always asked of the players was, “Did you win?”

Many athletes wait until the end of the game and some athletes process between each set. Other athletes evaluate between each serve, but very few athletes assess between each touch. No matter where you’re at along the spectrum, my guess is you have your own way of determining whether your performance was a win or not.

I always measured catches, drops, yards, touchdowns, blocks, and missed blocks. I thought certain numbers would give me joy, but unsurprisingly they left me looking for satisfaction elsewhere. Then, I would feel even worse, because I would see the flaw in my own system. Without knowing how the truth of the Gospel had a role to play here, I continued to determine success like the disconnected family members at the volleyball tournament, yet still had the guts to say, “I played to the glory of God.”

To play to the glory of God means to be perfect as God is perfect, not just every play, but every second from the moment you were conceived (Matt 5:48). The reality is that not a single one of us can think, speak, or act perfect (Rom 3:10) and every one of us is deserving of God’s punishment against sin (Rom 6:23). The amazing thing about grace is that God still executed His judgment on His sinless Son, while we were incapable of earning such a gift (Rom 5:8). If you repent, turn from your wicked ways toward God, and believe God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day as an approval of His sacrifice on your behalf, He will credit you with the performance of Christ. (Mark 1:15)Through faith, God will see you as the righteousness of Christ. (Rom 10:9-10)

As an adopted child of God, we have the opportunity to measure wins and losses differently, beyond the stats. Next to the holiness of Christ, our sin will be brought to light. This is the beginning of the process.

EXPOSE the sin

The more we conform to Christ, the more sensitive we become to sin. God uses the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and fellow believers to help us see the disobedience inside of us. (Col 3:5, Eph 5:11, 2 Cor 10:5)

EXTRACT the lie

Like a surgeon taking a sample of a growth and putting it under the microscope to see if it is cancer, we need to be that diligent to identify where our sin comes from. Here are some questions you can ask yourself.

  1. Am I believing a lie?
    1. Is there something I’m believing that convinces me this particular sin is worthy of my worship?
    2. How do identify the lie?
      1. Is any part of this attitude or action against the character of God?
      2. What do I do with the lie?
        1. Like a coach scouting an opponent, I want to see the weaknesses in the lie and where I can attack it.

EXCHANGE for the Gospel

To simply not believe the lie or to avoid a certain action is to not deal with the heart. The only thing that has the power to transform your heart is the Gospel. Therefore, we must train ourselves to do this over and over again. (Col 3:12, Eph 5:7-10, Phil 4:8-9)

  1. What is the truth of the Gospel?
  2. How do I apply that truth to counter the Extracted lie?
  3. Pray the Holy Spirit would allow your heart to 100% believe in the Gospel.

The power of the Gospel allows us to answer the question, “Did you win?” the way God intended believers to. Allow the Holy Spirit to Expose, Extract, and Exchange after practice this week. As you experience the heart transforming power of the Gospel, plead for the Holy Spirit to train you to go through this process more and more often so there are actually moments for the glory of God. Then, the prayer becomes that the time between God glorifying moments is less and less and less. Praise God His grace is sufficient for this process!

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