Ok, it’s time to mix sports metaphors.
It’s US Open Tennis Tournament time, and Serena Williams is once again the No. 1 female tennis player in the world. On the men’s side, Andy Murray, Brittan’s boy wonder ranked No. 3 in the World, is also the defending US Open Champion. Murray also won the 2013 Wimbeldon Championship becoming the first British man to do so since in 77 years. Nadal, Federer, Jankovic and Na Li and others are vying for the top spots as well, so we have some great tennis players playing some great players. The question is, who will step up to the plate this year? They say that getting there is half the fun.
Spiritually speaking, we all have stiff competition, and no championship is going to be handed to any of us. We will have to fight for it. Stepping up to the plate means that we must “man up,” quit whining, and do what we need to do in order to win. Whatever it takes.
Paul encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). The Good News Translation puts it this way: “Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses.” Since the letter is for the whole church, Paul’s exhortation for the man of God to flee sin and pursue holiness in 1 Timothy 6:11–12 is likewise for all believers. All believers should find comfort in the fact that even Timothy needed to be encouraged to persevere. None of us is so far advanced in our sanctification that we do not need encouragement to press on, and no stumbling saint has fallen so far that he cannot be placed back in the race through a word of exhortation. The church is, among other things, to play the role of cheerleader as we “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
R.C. Sproul teaches that “everyone who follows Christ makes the “good confession of faith” when he joins a church body, and Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to remember the confession he made before other witnesses is an allusion to the importance of fellow witnesses to encourage us in the faith. All of us have an important part to play in cheering on the discouraged Christians around us, and God will use our encouragement to help others grow to maturity in Christ.”
So step up to the plate. It’s your turn. It’s your time. Your teammates are counting on you. Your family, your co-workers, and people you don’t ever know need you to step up to the plate. Get in the game; get a hit, get on base, and don’t allow the inning to end on your watch. Determine to see the ball and then hit the ball (I phrase I borrowed from the film Trouble with the Curve).
Determine not to get called on strikes. At the plate, keep saying to yourself “I can do this!”