Lines of boundary.
Lines of progress.
Bleachers of fans riding the roller coaster progress of achievement and struggle, back through achievement again.
On the field, there is energy you cannot get off the field. The charge in your veins of doing well. The adrenaline spikes of pushing through the hard play and breaking through on the other side. The sheer freedom of running full-out down the field toward the goal. The roar of the crowd with the big plays. The same crowd’s audible shared disappointment shifting to encouragement as you trip because they so want to see you get up again.
Off the field, there is no crowd, the goal doesn’t count toard a win, and the conditioning drills can be brutal. Lap after lap after lap bringing the cardio up to speed. Running lines with legs burning and lungs quickly to follow. If you’re not on the play field, you’re in the gym trying to earn your spot on the field.
Both players play for the same team. Both were invited to the team, and both accepted the invitation. But one set of players chooses to spend their faith in the conditioning room, while another spends their faith no the field.
It’s not that the players on the field are perfect. They make mistakes. They spend time on the sideline getting coached, or sitting out a play, or encouraging their teammates. Even if a play field player is injured, they still roam the sidelines offering shouts of encouragement and sharing high-fives of achievement.
Joy is found on the play field called Obedience. The Coach has left the play field open. There are no limits to the number of players who can join the field group. All are welcome, but in order to get there, one must be in obedience to the Lord. You need not be perfect, you need only be coachable. And if you can’t be corrected with a small measure of verbal correction or sitting out a play or two, you will find yourself back in the conditioning room.
The game is on. The Coach wants you on the field. But a player who lacks conditioning will hold the field group back and is far more likely to be seriously hurt in the play than one who is conditioned already. If you live outside of obedience to Christ, joy will be difficult to find.
If you are living in obedience to Christ and you aren’t experiencing the joy, lift your head. You stand on a play field of dreams. Hear the Hebrews 11 crowd cheering you on, shouting their encouragement, and pulling for every step you take. See the Coach’s smiling face as He waves you forward. Welcome your teammates high fives as they share in your achievements. Lift your head. Obedience opens the door to the vibrant experience that only this play field of faith can bring.
Whatever He calls you to do, do it. For the conditioning drills will be left behind and you will run an experience of faith you could not otherwise dream.