Neither my eyes nor my feet will ever forget the feeling of walking into the great domed stadium in Houston, Texas for my first bowl game in the gladiator sport we call football. The lights were so bright that they felt like sunlamps on the back of your neck. The Astroturf felt like glue to our feet as we made our first cuts on the scientifically designed surface. The stadium was screaming with fans who’d traveled many miles to see the team they loved upset the giants of Oklahoma University. We "played out of our minds". The fans literally pulled us across the goal line time-after-time when we’d put 28 bloody, sweaty, fatigued points on the scoreboard over "Goliath’s" mere 27. Picture yourself for a minute on your playing field of life as you go to school, play sports, perform music, out with friends, dates and family. Your Coach, Jesus Himself, whispers the plays He wants you to run into your ear. Purity…godliness…forgiveness…encouragement…kindness…diligence. On the other side of the field, Satan makes his own calls. He puts them in bright neon lights with scantily clad models to act them out before your eyes so he can get the attention of your flesh. "Take a short cut." "Tell a small lie." "Cheat on that exam." "Lust a little with your eyes." "Picture yourself kissing that beautiful girl on TV." "You don’t need your Bible today." "You blew it, now look at you." You’re confused. You’re stifled. You’re almost ready to quit. Then you look up into the stadium and you see your favorite people on earth cheering for you to see the ones you loved so who already are in Heaven calling your name. "Go for it." "You can do it." "Get up and try again." "You’re going to win." And then you see Jesus. He’s looking right at you. He’s smiling. He’s ever cheering for you. You see His lips move. You hear His voice, "I did it and so can you."
How does a stadium of silent witnesses make a difference to you as you attempt to win at your "game of life"?
When can you remember "the crowd of witnesses" picking you out of a close game with your own Goliath-sized enemy?
Next time you’re about to fall, how will you look to the stands to see your #1 fan (Jesus Himself) and what difference will His encouragement make to you?
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2 NASB)