Good Friday & Easter - Bottom of the Ninth #102


Bottom of the 9th - Good Friday & Easter

Good Friday & Easter

by Justin Dillard, Valor Baseball Chaplain/Complete Game Ministries

James 4:6 - 

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.â€

Coach Wahl's practice plans always have a verse of the week and a thought of the day.  When we gathered around the mound after practice on Tuesday, I spoke about this week's verse of the week.When you read that verse, what do you think of when you think of “the proudâ€?  I know, I initially think of the stereotypical, chest-beating, outward pride that is boastful and arrogant.  It’s not surprising that God opposes that guy because everybody else does, too.  But there’s another kind of pride that we don’t think of as much: the inward pride.

Outward pride seems to show up when things are going right while inward pride shows up when things are going wrong. During a losing streak or a hitting slump, inward pride takes the focus from where it should be and we put it on ourselves instead.  God opposes that, too.

What we need to understand about pride is that it, in all forms, is us elevating ourselves, along with our successes AND failures as the most important thing…and it’s not.  It’s a lie that we’ve been believing all the way back to the original sin in the Garden of Eden when the serpent told Eve in Genesis 3:4-5, “You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.† So ultimately pride is us exalting ourselves to the level of God and saying that we’re as or more important than God and His plan.  And that, my friends is where all sin starts.  Therefore God opposes the proud.

The opposite of pride is humility and God gives grace to the humble.  We see this perfectly in Jesus who even though he was God, humbled Himself before God by coming to earth taking the form of a man.  Then he humbled Himself below everyone in the history of the world by dying our death as the payment for our sin on the cross that we observe today on Good Friday.  This is the greatest act of humility that the world has ever seen, so God exalted Him as the name above all names in which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord.

So if Christ's humility served everyone who has, is, and will ever lived in the history of the world, then do you think that we can show up to the ballpark everyday and put ourselves below the other 15 or so guys on our team so they can be lifted up?  You know what would prevent that?  Either me putting myself above the team because of my success or me putting myself above the team by turning inward in my struggles, or all of us turning inward because of a team losing streak.  Pride will turn everyone in during bad circumstances and we will collectively spiral down.  But if in humility, we’re all more worried about lifting up the brother who is next to us, then we will lift each other up and rise as one, no matter the circumstances.

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." -Philippians 2:5-11

The thought of the day for Tuesday was: "Your greatness is measured by your horizons." - Michelangelo

How does Michelangelo's quote fit with the verse of the week?  It's spring in Colorado.  Local weather forced us to re-schedule our game with Pomona yesterday.  On Wednesday, I had searched the  weather report online trying to get more information.  Modern forecasts include temperature, humidity, wind speed, chance of precipitation, and “visibility,†which is the distance you can see clearly toward the horizon.  I’d like you to consider not only how far you can see into the distance but also what you see when you look. The inspirational and vivid goals within your horizons, as Michelangelo suggests, can be the fuel for greatness.

I challenge you to expand the clarity and distance of your vision.  What horizons do you see that will be the measure of your greatness when you humble yourself before God and your teammates in the days and weeks ahead?

Happy Easter!

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