Wednesday, July 2, 2014

World Cup Soccer and the Christian Life

As I'm sure none of you know (unless you know me personally or read my quote blog), I am a World Cup soccer fanatic. I love soccer, and especially the World Cup.

Perhaps you couldn't care less about soccer. Bear with me: I'm going somewhere with this; and hopefully I'll go easy enough on the soccer jargon so that everyone can understand, whether you've ever watched a game or not.

Quick explanation of the World Cup: the soccer teams of thirty-two countries are split into groups and play against each other until there is only one team left, the winner (usually Brazil).

Okay, not exactly usually, but Brazil is amazing.


The United States played a knock-out game yesterday versus Belgium. (Knock-out simply means, if you lose the game, you go home. No more World Cup 2014 for you.)

Our defense was decent for most of the game. (I hope you have at least a minor understanding of defense and offense.) The offense definitely needed some work. By the very end of the game, we started playing offense the way we should have been the entire game, but it was too late. By then, our defense had broken down (besides the goalie, who saved more goals than he should have been able to). Though we managed one goal, we gave up two. And we lost.

That's the basic idea of what happened. Now, for the point of this post:

1. Defense is great, but it can't last forever

The best offense is a good defense, right? Sometimes. But as I said, you can only play defense for so long before said defense falls apart. Especially against an offensive opponent (in the case of Christianity, the devil).

You can't expect to always be playing defense and get anywhere in your Christian life. You have to also put up a good offense.

Now, when I say "offense," I don't mean unnecessarily offensive. If you're doing it right, some things about your life will be offensive, simply because they go against the grain of the world. There's no need to add to it by being a "jerk for Jesus."

However, I do mean fight offensively against the devil and temptation. Like the game yesterday, if you have nothing but a decent defense, you will lose. Even if you have a great defense, perhaps the greatest defense humankind has ever seen (which I doubt), you will still lose, eventually. As I pointed out in bold, even the greatest defense will eventually fail if that is all you have.

2. That said, you do need a good defense

In the same way you can't expect to stand without a good offense, you can't expect to stand without a good defense.

As I've mentioned several times, the USA team had a decent defense for a little while. But eventually it broke down, and that's when Belgium scored — twice — and the game was lost. I've already talked about offense; if we had kept up our defense, Belgium wouldn't have scored. And without a goal, they couldn't have won. Of course, it would have eventually gone to penalty kicks, because someone had to win. But that is, for the moment, irrelevant.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith," 
I Peter 5:8-9a

3. You can't expect "someone else" to do it all

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that Tim Howard (our goalie) did more than his part. Not only did he do his job, he did it better than could have possibly been expected. Yet we still lost.

You can't sit back and think, "I don't really need to. God can use someone else just as well as me." Because, what if everyone says the same thing? Then you're left with no one but Tim, doing more than his part, yet not enough.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 
Galatians 6:9-10

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. 
Colossians 3:23-25

4. In conclusion: the whole armor of God

If you don't have the whole and entire armor of God on — both offensive and defensive — you won't "stand against the whiles of the devil" for long. Be sure you're wearing every piece at all times.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the whiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all your prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 
Ephesians 6:10-20 


  1. Very good Jess! Makes me *almost* want to go watch soccer...almost! But love what you're saying. We do need the whole armour :)


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