I like to use everyday things to share the gospel (being careful to stay true to the gospel more than the illustration of course). So, let me introduce you to Casey (its a baseball story, Casey is a good name to use). Casey wanted to be a baseball player. He wanted to be a baseball player because his friends were. He watched them become baseball players one or two at a time over the years and pretty soon, he felt left out. He knew what being a baseball player entailed, but he was not interested in that. Casey only wanted to be known as a baseball player and win a championship like all the other players before him. So, the day came to join the baseball team. Casey had learned what to say and how to act. He even practiced enough give the impression that he was committed to being a baseball player. Casey became a baseball player that day and life was good. He had finally accomplished his goal. People looked at Casey and recognized him as a baseball player and for the first few weeks, Casey did everything you would expect out of a baseball player as he rode the high of his newfound status.
After a few weeks though, it started to get hard. He messed up a lot, but the coach said it was ok and gave him multiple chances. Practices, though, began interfering with things he wanted to do. Casey didn’t want to go to 6am workouts to get in shape and become stronger. Being a baseball player was quickly becoming inconvenient for Casey. He had eating habits that he didn’t want to give up. He didn’t want to do the work that it took to stay in shape. He had other friends who were wanting him to quit baseball because they thought it was stupid; and they wanted Casey to go do things that he knew the coach wouldn’t approve. Casey didn’t realize what it took to be a baseball player. This isn’t what he wanted. All Casey wanted was for people to see him as a baseball player and win that championship.
Pretty soon, Casey’s habits began to change. There is only so long that you can keep up a charade and Casey’s true intentions started surfacing. He still wanted to be seen as a baseball player. He wanted the praise and the attention that other people were giving him for being one. He wanted that championship. However, the daily work that Casey was putting in quickly dwindled to a couple of times a week. He would show up for practice, but he didn’t do any other work on his own outside of that. Casey’s performance & attitude began to deteriorate. Soon, Casey only went to practice because he was told to go. Then the inevitable happened- Casey started missing practices. Instead, Casey started doing other things that he wanted to do and thought were more important. He began making poor choices about his health and poor choices about who to be around. Eventually, Casey stopped coming to practices all together.
The season began and went much faster than Casey anticipated. All Casey wanted was to be a baseball player and be known as a baseball player & win a championship. As an attempt to continue the charade, Casey showed up to the occasional practice or game. His actions and his decisions, however, showed something completely different. People stopped recognizing Casey as a baseball player and eventually, people started wondering if Casey was ever really a baseball player, or was it just something he pretended to be? Before Casey knew it, it was the final game. The baseball team was playing in the championship. Casey was excited, after all he was a baseball player right? He wanted to play in the championship game. It was too late, however. By the time Casey got there, the game was over. “That’s ok,” Casey thought, I am still part of the team, I can celebrate the victory with the rest of them. As he approached the field, he heard the championship presentation ceremony taking place. Casey ran out on the field and got in line to receive his reward. The coach, greeted each player the same way. “Well done, here is your reward.” When he got to Casey, the coach’s expression changed and became solemn. Casey was excited to hear those same words, but instead, the coach turned to walk away. Casey called out, “Coach, what about me? It’s me Casey.” The coach turned and as an expression of being heartbroken washed over the coach’s face, he looked at Casey and said, “I don’t know you.”
My dear friends. Don’t deceive yourself into a false sense of security when it comes to your salvation. Know where you are going. Don’t be caught in the 3rd chair (see my article Eliminating the 3rd Chair). Salvation is more than walking an aisle and saying a prayer. It is a complete and total transformation of who you are because of Christ. You cannot experience Christ and walk away the same person. Once you accept Christ, there is work to do. Work to grow. We were meant to grow in our faith. Casey made the mistake of treating becoming a baseball player as a destination, when in fact it was just the beginning of the journey. Those who truly accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior will weather the hard work and the tough times. Those who just want the status, will fade. It is hard to keep up a charade of something you are not. In the end, everyone spends eternity somewhere. Everyone of will hear one of two things. We will either hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” or we will hear “depart from me for I never knew you.” I can think of no worse fate, then to stand before God in judgment only to find out you never gave Him your life after deceiving yourself that you did.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach