Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Heat, Practice, and Christianity that Counts

The Miami Heat won the NBA Finals this past week.  Toward the end of the series, it looked like the Heat were going to lose.  Down by 3, with less than 10 seconds to go, Miami missed a 3 pointer.  Fortunately, they rebounded the attempt and passed the ball to their best three-point shooter, Ray Allen. With less than six seconds left and a defender in his face, Allen took a slightly off balance shot to tie the game.  Swish.  The Heat went on to become the NBA champs.

When interviewed about the difficult shot, Allen said, “believe it or not I work on it quite often. I try to put my body in precarious situations coming from different parts of the floor, different angles to try to get my momentum moving forward.  I honestly can say I gave myself a great opportunity, a great chance to make that shot. And it wasn't unfamiliar to me personally. When it went in I was ecstatic. But at the same time I was 
expecting to make it."  In sum, Ray Allen knew what to do when it counted because he practiced like it counted.

The same goes for our spiritual lives.  Christians know how to be Christian when it counts because we practice Christianity like it counts.  We study the Bible, pray, fast, memorize scripture, meet with other Christians for encouragement and accountability for a reason.  We want to recognize and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit when opportunities and challenges of life present themselves.           
That is one reason the Psalm writer writes, “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”  We participate in devotional practices because they give light to our lives.  They help us see how to honor Jesus when it counts. 

As you go through the coming week, practice devotion to Christ.  Pray and meditate on the Lord so that you recognize the Spirit’s voice in times of crises.  Read, study, and memorize the scriptures so that you have a reference point when faced with tough decisions.  Begin each day practicing Christian devotion like it counts.  Then, go about your life looking for opportunities to put that devotion into action, ready to take the ball when the game is on the line.

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