I have been pondering the use of the word "weapons" in sports. I hear it tossed around on talk shows and I read it in print in articles like these:
- Two months after beating the Niners in the NFC Championship Game, Manningham is now joining them. He joins Michael Crabtree and fellow newcomer Randy Moss as the weapons in Alex Smith’s arsenal for next season.
- Ginn, a former No. 9 overall pick who turns 27 next month, has been one of the best special teams weapons in the game for the last five years.
- If the Rangers can keep both Ogando and Feldman in the bullpen to start the year, they feel as if they have two versatile, potential multi-inning weapons.
Teams are stockpiling so many weapons I think it is time for a non-proliferation treaty. Something has gone wrong when weaponry has become a predominant metaphor in sports. Sports are not battles, conquests, or wars. They are not life and death.
We know better! The real battles are fought by our soldiers in uniform, our police officers patrolling the streets, and you. Yes YOU!
This truth exploded like a surface-to-air missile when I was reading Peter's letter to exiled Christians in the first century:
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11
Peter reminds me that I am in a daily skirmish, a battle with an outcome that is far more significant than wearing a t-shirt that says "National Champions." How can I sit in rapt attention watching my team battle to the Final Four and yet not stand vigilant when it comes to my soul?
My flesh is waging an all-out battle to take me down. This is spiritual black ops, a deadly combination of overt and covert ego stroking, sex-satisfying, power-loving, sour attitude-coddling maneuvers. The flesh has one goal: to make me Benedict Arnold, a traitor to myself and to God.
You're entering a war zone today, but Peter provides plenty of help to make you battle-ready:
- Acknowledge that this is your war. If you are oblivious to the conflict you will probably become a victim of it.
- Start your day in God's Word. "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up ..." 1 Peter 2:2 The Word of God provides your marching orders and the firepower you need to defeat the flesh.
- Join ranks with God's people. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession." 1 Peter 2:9 There's strength in numbers. Grab lunch with a Christian friend. Make a phone call. Send a text message. When you do, remind that person of the high calling you share. You are a part of God's royal priesthood. This is no time to retreat.
- Take your focus off yourself and put it on others. "Live as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor." 1 Peter 2:16-17 Serving others is your daily mission from God. To obey God is to disarm the flesh.
You are not going to a war today; you are already in one. Don't become a spiritual casualty. Stay battle-ready! _______________
1 "Report: Former Giant Mario Manningham Signs With 49ers" March 23, 2012. Cited in www.tracking.si.com. Accessed March 25, 2012. 2 "Report: Ted Ginn Jr. Signs One-Year Deal To Remain With 49ers." March 23, 2012. Cited in www.trackin.si.com. Accessed March 25, 2012. 3 Texas Rangers Team Notes. March 23, 2012. Cited in www.usatoday.com/sports. Accessed March 25, 2012.