Life Lessons from Fantasy Football
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13
Years ago, while in residency, all the guys got together to form a fantasy football league. I signed up and had good intentions, but I lost interest after the first game and by the third week, I was in last place. Apparently, fantasy football is the kind of thing where you must participate, continually managing your team. I didn’t participate and so, I was soon starting players that weren’t even on the field that Sunday due to being benched, injured, or some other reason about which I didn’t care. I didn’t plan, prepare, or even show up, and so, I failed.
I can be similarly sedentary in other areas of life. I have good intentions, but then, I just hope that things take care of themselves. I want to eat well, but eating well takes planning, preparation, and discipline. That’s a lot of work, so I just tell myself I’m going to make good choices as I go. I don’t really make any kind of effort and so I fail. I did much the same in my drug addiction, I promised myself I’d stop using, but I changed nothing and did nothing, except to wish things were different – which was simply a plan for failure.
In today’s passage, Paul described the Christian life as a spiritual battle. He didn’t say that since God has done everything for us that we should just sit back and do nothing. The Christian life Paul described is anything but passive. Instead, he used the metaphor of battle, insisting that we must daily put on the armor of God. If we sit back and do nothing, we’ll be unprepared for the onslaught of life. In failing to participate, we plan for failure.
This is a common error for us as Christians. Because God saves us based on no merit of our own, we mistakenly think that we don’t have to do anything in response. If God wants to change me, he’ll do it, right? Paul however, said precisely the opposite. God has done his work, now we must respond appropriately, by doing whatever it takes every day to pursue the life for which we were made.
This is anything but easy or passive. Life is a battle, assaulting us with trials that will demolish us if we’re not prepared for them. When we do nothing, we plan for misery and destruction. If we want the life God wants for us, then we must plan, participate, and fight – every day. In doing nothing, we’ve already chosen failure.