Getting in the game.

If you have read my previous book review of “The Game Plan”, by Joe Dallas, you already know that I love this book — by the way, more book reviews are coming.

Here are two quotes that have been hitting me across the face:

You can’t love someone you’re not intimate with … plenty of men have a relationship with GOD but not much intimacy with HIM … while they live a somewhat Christian lifestyle, they lack the vibrant, growing intimacy with CHRIST that marks a true disciple. (page 46)

Training is a cooperative effort between GOD and man. We see this principle throughout the Bible, when GOD calls a man to a purpose and says, in essence, “Here’s the goal. This is what MY part is in achieving it; here’s your part.” Of course, we’re not equals in our partnership with GOD, and HE doesn’t need us to fulfill HIS purposes. But in HIS wisdom, HE’S chosen to include us in them. And so, when fulfilling them, we trust HIM to do what we cannot do, and HE entrusts us to do what we can. (page 136, bold emphasis mine)

The last quote comes from a chapter that begins to talk about training ourselves to stay away from temptation, especially when it’s pressed upon our eyes/faces. To begin, Dallas reiterates his previous points about making sure we’re taking our ‘daily meds’; this is where the first quote is taken from. And this is what I have forgotten to do.

I’m a mess when I don’t take my medicine – literally. I have been dealing with depression since I was a teen, and finally (about three years ago) I was put on Prozac to help stable my moods and mind. So far, so good. But like I said, when I forget to take my ‘happy pill’ for the day, I’m not so happy for the next two days. In the end, I suffer and those who encounter me suffer for those days – particularly my wife and kids. The same thing can be said about missing out on my ‘spiritual meds’.

I need JESUS everyday. It’s a simple fact that is vital to my daily survival, and a simple fact that is so often over looked. I need JESUS. Everyday. No debate needed. When I don’t ‘take’ HIM, I’m a mess for the day; and I’m not guaranteed a good day of survival either.

I’m what you would call a messy Christian: lust, images, thoughts, curse words, bad memories, bad jokes, and the like plague my mind daily. And it’s not just once a day, but it’s throughout the day. I am ashamed sometimes when I’m called a ‘Youth Pastor’, because I know what I’m capable of – and if what I’m capable of ever really gets out, trust me, people won’t be calling me ‘Pastor’ for long. This is not to say that I’m a loose cannon that’s ready to expload any second; rather this is to say, how I view myself is quite different than how others view me. And I think this is the case for all of us. What this is also stressing is my point of needing JESUS everyday.

In needing HIM, I need to be taking my daily meds – and not just the Prozac or a simple, quick ‘GOD, thanks for today, amen’ type of prayer either. Dallas lays out what meds need to be taken each day, preferably in the morning before your day actually starts:

  • 5-10 minutes of reading scripture (from a particular book of the Bible, or random passages)
  • 5-10 minutes in prayer with GOD (offering worship, confession, petitions, and your silence)
  • 2 minutes of recommitting yourself to GOD for the day (“Today I choose 24-hours of sexual purity and integrity”, or something like that)
  • 2 minutes to read over the (30) reasons why you are choosing purity and integrity for today

These are not cure-all medications that if taken once a week will help you stay ‘healthy’. These are medications that need to be taken daily – seriously and honestly – between GOD and you. This is your part of the deal (re-read the second quote from above). GOD will honor HIS commitment, and HE expects you to keep yours too.

Here are my 30 reasons to walk in purity and integrity, each day:

  1. my wife
  2. my daughter
  3. my son
  4. my marriage
  5. my relationship with GOD
  6. my ministry
  7. for those who watch me
  8. because I’m a leader
  9. because I’m a disciple
  10. because GOD has called me
  11. my healing
  12. my heart
  13. my relationships
  14. my mind
  15. my eyes
  16. my integrity
  17. my witness
  18. cause I’m a worshiper
  19. for growth
  20. for wholeness
  21. cause I’ve been set free
  22. cause of what JESUS did
  23. my depression and health
  24. my attitude
  25. GOD dwells in me
  26. JESUS dwells in me
  27. the Holy Spirit dwells in me
  28. my wife
  29. my daughter
  30. my son

What’s your 30 reasons to walk in purity and integrity, each day? How often do you ‘take your meds’? There’s another quote from Dallas that screams conviction:

Some men make the mistake of waiting for GOD to give them impulse control when, in fact, HE already has. They’re just not using it. (page 137).

I don’t want to be one of those men. I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines, blabbing my petty excuses to the Coach (GOD) on why I can’t play in the game today – my head hurts, I don’t feel well, I’m tired, I’ve got other things to do, I deserve to sit out and rest today, etc. If I truly want intimacy with GOD, then I need to get into the game and work for it. I need to go after it like my life depends on it – and in some cases, it does depend on it. At the end of the day, I want to go to bed with my wife knowing that I battled for purity and integrity hard that day – for her, our kids, and my GOD. And I didn’t wimp out. I fought beside GOD, with HIS armor and tools, against our enemy of enemies – and we won (Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 4:12).

This is not to say that I won’t ever be tempted – because unless I’m dead and in the ground, I will always be tempted – but this is to say that I’m refusing to fall to my temptations, especially without an honest, well fought fight. LORD help me … I don’t want to wimp out. I want to be a man of GOD … a man after GOD’S heart.

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