Game Face


Look at Larry Bird’s face. We call it a “game face.”

The Boston Celtics always had veterans, most notably the famed Larry Bird. This battle tested look of this savvy basketball warrior is legendary.  The tough, young Pistons met the aging champions in the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, and late in Game 5 of a 2-2 series, Detroit was set to inbound the ball in the backcourt with a one-point lead.  That’s when Larry Bird put on his game face.

With less than five ticks on the clock, Celtics great Larry Bird read the eyes of Pistons guard Isaiah Thomas and cut in front of the inbounds pass intended for Bill Laimbeer. Bird somehow kept his balance while tip-toeing the sideline and found a cutting teammate — guard Dennis Johnson — who laid the ball off the glass and into the hoop. The Celtics won 108-107 and went on to take the series in seven games.

Jesus put his game face on.  With the “game of life” on the line for all humanity, he set his face like a flint and determined to go to Jerusalem to give his life a ransom for many – for you and for me. 

“For the Lord God will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced: therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” Isaiah 50:7.

Charles Spurgeon penned these words, which are well worth repeating here:

“Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I speak especially to you. We serve a Master who steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem in order that He might accomplish the one great purpose for which He came to earth, and from which He could not be turned.

Therefore it behooves us to be faithful to Him and to partake as far as we can of His spirit. Does He not seem to accuse us, without saying a word, for His face was set like a flint—while our faces are often made to blush with shame when we are called upon to speak up for Him, or perhaps when we are ashamed to do so?

O you fickle Christians, hot in a revival service and lukewarm afterwards, you who sing— “Here, Lord, I give myself away”— and yet do nothing of the kind! O you who say that you love the Lord with all your hearts and declare that you are willing to die for Him, yet go into the world to put Him to an open shame by your inconsistencies, look at your Lord and then blush to such a crimson hue as no one can take out of your face again!

If we truly follow such a Lord as Christ is, we also ought to be flinty-faced for all holy purposes—and I ask you, dear Friends, to pray to God the Holy Spirit to make you so.’

So put on your game face. Determine to live for him, and if necessary prepare to die for him. Yes, determine to die to yourself daily so that you can live for him.

Put your game face on.

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