Too Legit To Quit

Rose Bowl

This time, the hype was not hysteria. The Oregon Ducks are in fact and indeed for real.  They’re quick, they’re fast, they’re strong, and they proved that they can bang with, and even beat down, the big boys.  And they’re too legit to quit, and that’s why they will win the National Championship.

This time, the actual games were better than all the glitter. And James Winston and Florida State actually lost a game, badly. And Alabama also lost (and some have reacted gladly). We all knew the time was coming (for Oregon to win big and Winston to lose bad), it’s just that it all came to a head and it all came crashing down in one fell swoop.

In the Rose Bowl this time, the second-seeded Ducks (13-1) scored six straight times they touched the ball in the second half, with five of the touchdowns covering at least 21 yards and the last four coming after Florida State turnovers. Marcus Mariota and the Ducks are built for speed and in a flash they turned the first College Football Playoff semifinal game into a Rose Bowl rout. The final score: OREGON 59, FLORIDA STATE 20, and it wasn’t that close.

This time, it’s time that the truth comes out.  And ultimately the truth will come out. The critics have been downing and dogging the Ducks for far too long .That time is over. Now, it’s time for Oregon to shine for the football world to see.  And those of us who love God and live for God and are determined to disappoint the devil are also coming to the light for all the whole wide world to see. 

It’s about time for those who have been reborn and redeemed and restored and repaired by the power of God to predominate and prevail.  It’s about time for those who have been revived and revamped and refreshed and reframed by the Almighty God to overcome and overpower every archrival and every archenemy.  And it’s time for those of us who have been regenerated and resuscitated and refurbished and redecorated by the Spirit of God to know that we are destined to defeat and destroy every opponent and every antagonist that dares to even approach us.

And so the spiritual tie-in is clear: it’s time. It’s time to conquer hate with love. It’s time to redirect wrong by doing right.  And it’s time to overcome evil with good.  It’s just time, because believers of God are too legit to quit.

Down, But Not Out

 florida-state-si-cover-national-championship

The Florida State Seminoles were down but not out. At one point in the National Championship game, they trailed 21-3 to the Auburn Tigers.  They were losing and looking bad doing it.  So I stopped watching. I didn’t want to watch the Heisman Trophy winner get beat up and beat down. Go figure. But a dramatic comeback was in the making. Jameis Winston threw a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left to give Florida State a stunning 34-31 victory over Auburn.  

The Heisman Trophy winner and his No. 1 ranked team were down but not out. Winston, who arguably had his worst game of the season, managed to go 6-of-7 passing for 77 yards on the game-winning 80-yard drive. In the biggest game of the season, down by four with 1:19 left, the star freshman quarterback put together the drive of his life, and the Seminoles proved they could take a punch and win a championship

The game was a thrilling, down-to-the-wire classic.

Another thrilling, down to the wire classic was played out with a Biblical “Heisman Trophy” winner: a woman named Ruth. Ruth was poor, a foreigner, and a woman, and all this counted against her, but she was helped by an older woman to overcome the difficulties she faced. Ruth had the good sense to listen to the advice given to her by Naomi, and the older woman was rewarded by Ruth’s unfaltering loyalty. Her story illustrates the triumph of courage and ingenuity over adverse circumstances. She has special significance for Christians: in the gospel of Matthew, four women appear in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:2-17), and Ruth was one of the four.[1]

Ruth was down but not out. God loved Ruth and Naomi. He knew what was going on in their lives. Naomi voiced her grief over the death of her husband and sons but never stopped trusting Him to do something about her situation. Ruth’s relationship with God started the same way most relationships with Him do. She came to know and value someone who knew Him well. That someone was Naomi. These women were not only God’s provision to each other but also a way for Him to make Himself known through their lives.[2]

Ruth was willing to forgo everything — her future in Moab, her people, her gods and even her ancestral burial plot — to be joined with Naomi. Yet as we remember Ruth, as we acknowledge and strive to emulate her devotion, her loyalty, her total commitment, let us not forget that other remarkable woman, Naomi. As F.B. Huey, Jr., explains, “Naomi’s consistent living must have so impressed her daughter-in-law to cause her to abandon her homeland and her gods.”[3] What sort of woman was this Naomi, to inspire such affection in a daughter-in-law? What relationship with God must she have had to cause Ruth to forsake the gods of Moab and worship Naomi’s God alone? 

Naomi’s devotion begs this question; what kind of relationship do you have with God? Is it  strong enough to inspire others to get to know the God you serve as well?