Pressure

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My worst games in college were the games that my father watched. Because of the distance between my college in South Carolina and my home in Baltimore, my parents were not able to attend a lot of my games. They would typically come down to our conference tournament in North Carolina and a game or two throughout the year if they could get away. My parents were never the type that pushed me hard in athletics, they encouraged me and gave me opportunities to play, but never forced me to do anything. My father was also never the type who talked about my failures on the field, I could not ask for a better support system, however, for some reason I always felt the pressure of wanting my parents to see me play well. During the majority of the year I played freely, never worrying about who was in the crowd or who watched me play, but for some reason those few games that my father would watch I would play tight, worrying about making an error, pressing at the plate, and rarely had good games when he was around.Why would I play tight? Why did I feel the pressure of my father being in the stands? As I look back on these games, and now look at my two year old son and his relationship with me I realize that we are always seeking the approval of our father. Not only are we seeking the approval of our father, but often I find myself seeking the approval of my Father. Why am I in ministry, why do I feel the need to “work” for Jesus, is it my calling, or my own seeking approval from God for my life? As we play, and even if we have made the decision to play for the glory of God, are we playing for His approval? Hopefully I can let you in on a secret….you will never get it. You will never earn the approval of God through your actions, why? Because Jesus already won that approval for you. Jesus’ righteousness that He earned through His life and gave to you through His blood being shed on the cross bought you that approval. As God looks at you, He sees you with the righteousness of Christ. We have the approval of our Father! 1 Peter 1:3-5 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” An inheritance is given to a son or a child. God has an inheritance waiting in heaven for us, thus God considers us His children if we have accepted the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. As I look at my son and the love I have for him I realize that my love is miniscule compared to the love the Father has for us. A love that is not conditional, that doesn’t get frustrated or become short tempered or angry, a love that perfectly loves us that He is willing to have His son murdered so we can spend forever in His presence. I hope for you that as you step onto the field you realize, whoever is there, whoever is watching, whatever pressure you feel, that you have a perfect Father in heaven that does not demand your success or is withholding His approval. But rather, you are approved of, you are treasured, you are loved, you are accepted and He has an inheritance waiting in heaven for you!