“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)
Several years ago, I began playing tennis and became a member of a competitive team. Each week the team attends a practice clinic with our tennis professional to learn new techniques and strategies. He is always full of great tips and advice to help us improve our game, but one particular week he said something that really stuck in my mind.
He discussed the importance of court position; where we stand on the court could determine whether or not we keep the ball in play and if we win the point. Then he said that although we could not control what was going on in the court, we could always control where we stand.
I thought about how that statement is applicable not only to tennis, but to life. You see, even though we can’t control what happens in the world, we can always control where we stand on issues of righteousness and integrity. Where we choose to stand will be evidence of the role that we are allowing God to play in our lives.
For example, we have no power over the sex, drugs, language and violence on TV, but we can choose whether we watch it or not. We have no power over the content of the movies coming out in the theatres, or how lenient the ratings are, but we can choose what we allow ourselves or our children to see. We can stand for purity.
We have no power to control the beliefs and actions of other people. We cannot control the downfall of morals in our society. We cannot control the decisions that Congress makes, which new laws are put into place, escalating gas prices, politics in the workplace, questionable practices in corporations, liberal tolerance, foreign affairs, war, or the state of the economy.
In fact, sometimes it may seem that we have no control over certain situations in our own lives, much less the things happening in the world. But there is good news – we always have the choice to choose where we will stand in the game of life.
Proverbs 20:5 says, “Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within” (The Message). That is really where court position begins – in the heart. If our faith is strong and grounded, then we will be able to pull from that wisdom when faced with opportunities to choose where to stand, knowing that the power of God within us will empower us to make good decisions.
Our only hope in fighting this battle of good versus evil, in our hearts and in this broken world, is to be prepared to stand tall and firm for Christ, despite what the opposition may bring.
You know, life is a lot like a tennis court. We each have our side. We try to stay on the right side, but sometimes the balls that get thrown at us pull us in the wrong direction. Other times they are difficult to defend, cause us to stumble, or throw us off track. But if we choose the right court position to begin with, that is, to stay on God’s side and choose Him as our partner, we are much more likely to exercise the power we have within us. Drawing deep from the well of God’s wisdom in our hearts, we can do the right thing.
There are times when standing up for our faith may cause us to lose the popularity contest, but it will allow others to see God in us. And, there may even be times when our court position speaks louder than words ever could.
Where will you stand today?
Dear Lord, help me have the strength and faith to stand up for what is right when I am faced with opposition, and not be swayed by the pressures in a fallen world. Help me live a life that glorifies You, instead of just taking the easy road and going along with the crowd. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.