As a student pastor in the Broadway area of Knoxville, and having a church situated where City View is, I had a front row ticket to football perfection last year. I got the joy and honor of watching the Fulton Falcons leave their entire schedule in the dust as they marched unscathed to a perfect 15-0 season and their 2nd consecutive TSSAA Class 4A State Championship. As a former athlete, perfection was something we all desired. I can’t help but think of the dramatic locker room speech given by Julius Campbell in that football classic movie Remember the Titans. In that speech, the Titans were faced with their first real threat to their perfect season. Coach Boone entered the locker room and told his players that they were doing all they could and that set up the moment for “Big Julius” to deliver the pep talk of all pep talks. The words he spoke in that oration carries more weight than many people realize. Let me refresh your memory of what was said,
“No, it ain’t Coach. With all due respect, uh, you demanded more of us. You demanded perfection. Now, I ain’t saying that I’m perfect, ’cause I’m not. And I ain’t gonna never be. None of us are. But we have won every single game we have played till now. So this team is perfect. We stepped out on that field that way tonight. And, uh, if it’s all the same to you, Coach Boone, that’s how we want to leave it.”
Little does the writers of that movie know how biblical that speech is and how profound a statement that is to make when it comes to how we should strive to live our lives. You see that statement is not just about results, its about obedience, desire, and intent. The same three things that we are called as Christians to have as we live our daily lives for Christ. Sometimes, however, we get wrapped up in the outcome or the results of our lives, and we miss the true meaning of living like Christ.
A question that has plagues Christians for years is how we answer the accusation of non-believers when we are called hypocrites. Let me take a second and put this conundrum to bed. The answer to this accusation is fairly simple and straight forward…..we are hypocrites. We are imperfect people trying to emulate the life of our perfect savior, so naturally we are going to come up short- AND THAT IS OK!!! You see, we get way too caught up in the results of our lives and when we mess up our streak of being “good,” we get frustrated and often go on a binge of not so great behavior or worse, we get discouraged from going after anyone evangelically. The command from God’s word echoes in our head looming over us and casting a self made shadow of doubt. We hear it from 1 Peter 2:21, which says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” We also hear it in the words of 1 John 2:6 when it says, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” Yes, we are called to be like Christ in all that we do and say, but perfection is not the results that Christ is looking for.
These verses make it very clear that we are to walk in the ways of the Lord- meaning we are to follow Him (remember what it means to follow Christ?- check out Luke 9:23). The results of our life are going to expose us for what we are…sinners. We are all guilty of this, but Christ is not after perfect results. First of all He wants us to WANT to be like Him. Paul reminds us of this in Philippians 1:21 when he says, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” In that verse, Paul talks about his whole life pointing to Christ. That is exactly what the Bible does as well. The entire Old Testament points forward to Christ on the Cross and the entire New Testament points back to Christ on the Cross- its all about the blood trail. God WANTS us to want that.
Secondly, God understands how imperfect we are and He does not set us up for failure. This is proclaimed in Jeremiah 29:11 when it tells us that God’s plan for us is not for our destruction, but instead for hope and peace. God wants us to be intentional about the way we live our lives. When we are intentional, we are purposeful, we do it on purpose, and we have a purpose. We ALL have a purpose in Christ.Ephesians 2:10 proclaims, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Again, God is not interested in the results or the slip ups, He is interested in the purpose you live for Him.
Finally, God is interested in your obedience. This is always the toughest one to grasp. I sometimes ask my son to do something or to not do something. I do so, because my son doesn’t have the big picture of what is going on, nor would he understand the big picture at his age. This can often be frustrating to him when he asks why and I tell him, because I said not to. Just like my son, we don’t have the entire picture of God’s plan and there are times that we aren’t ready to comprehend that plan. Sometimes, it’s not about being right, but it’s about being obedient. Sometimes, we need to obey God because He said so.
To wrap this up, we need to understand that God is not interested in just the results of our lives and actions. He interested in us being PURPOSEFUL in the way we live, He is interested in us having a DESIRE to live like Him, and He is interested in our OBEDIENCE to do what He has demanded of us, even if we don’t understand why. If we concentrate in wanting to live like Christ to the best of our ability, God has already engineered the results that will ultimately bring glory and honor to Him and His Kingdom. So, rest easy with the knowledge that you don’t have to live a perfect life to reach people for the cause of Christ. We are ALL sinners on this journey together and it would just be awesome to share the ride with as many people as possible. Take heart in knowing that you are perfectly imperfect and that is perfectly fine.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach