In his sermon on Sunday, Chris painted a fictitious situation of Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers crying on the sidelines because the opposing team was after him in order to illustrate a point about our lives as Christians. While I wouldn’t mind seeing Rodgers melt into a basket case on the sidelines (I am a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago Bears’ fan), the illustration sounded as ridiculous to me as he meant it to be.
The point was that “Christ-like character will always be opposed.” That statement isn’t radical or new to me, and yet I am often surprised when it proves true in my life. Instead, I tend to see the opposition as something unrelated to my Christian walk. When mulling over this, I almost laughed out loud thinking about the instances where I didn’t connect the testing with God’s work in my life. How could the slow driver on the highway be connected to God teaching me about His patience earlier that morning? How could it be related that God reveals my heart’s pride the week before I am set to spend time with someone I tend to feel “better than”?
I often find myself complaining about the testing or opposition in my life, which reveals to me my lack of perspective. First, it shows that I haven’t counted my gains as losses “for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7), because the biggest reason I fight hard against testing and opposition is because something I value besides Christ feels threatened.
Second, it shows that I don’t understand the value of suffering and persecution. The Bible tells me that those who suffer for Christ are blessed (Matthew 5:10) and also that persecution brings perseverance, proven character and hope (Romans 5:3-5). Finally, I haven’t fully grasped my identity in Christ by sharing in His suffering (1 Peter 4:12-14).
Like a professional football player, God intends me to be ready for the opposition, using it at as a way to hone skills and prove resolve. The amazing part to me is that someone as weak and helpless as myself is able to take on opposition that looks like a 300-pound defensive end charging my direction because of Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). With Christ, I am ready for the snap count.