March Madness in Our Hearts – by Daniel Knapke
I love this time of year, there is college basketball on from noon until midnight. You never know what is going to happen, the best of the best face off and try to find out who is going to be the ultimate champion. Personally, I was upset when Duke got beat by South Carolina. Some of you might have felt the same pain when Cincinnati was eliminated by UCLA. Others are extremely happy because Kentucky is still dancing.
With all the excitement of March Madness, it reminds me of the constant competition that is happening in our own lives. Lets call it our Spiritual Madness. That competition for your attention, time, and ultimately, your heart. It is a competition between good and bad, God and money, or your job, or a past and/or present addiction. This competition is constant; it wears you down and sometimes makes you feel defeated. Well I have a little bad news and a whole lot of good news.
Lets start with the bad news. First, you are not going to win every game. Romans 3:23 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We are not perfect, sometimes we falter, for we are human. Second, you are not going to be able to make it through the tournament we call life without a teammate in Jesus Christ. We can not make it on our own, we can not defeat the enemy of fleshly wants and desires without Jesus.
The Good News
Now for the good news! The ultimate teammate is on your team! Romans 3:24-25 explains, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished”
I know, there are a lot of “church words” in that passage. Let me see if I can break it down. Paul is saying that Jesus Christ has freed us of our sins of the past through his death and resurrection. Jesus was sinless, and was made to be our ultimate sacrifice. But there is a caveat, you have to have faith in Christ, this atonement is waiting for any and all to be received, but you have to ask for it. Jesus is waiting on the bench saying “put me in coach!!” but you have to make that decision, you have to decide to put the ultimate MVP in the game.
Daniel Knapke and his wife, Ainsley, call The Crossing home. He is a firefighter and paramedic in the greater Cincinnati area and a member of The Crossing Blog Team.