This particular article is going to be one of my favorites to write, to due the fact that it contains two of my favorite subjects, God and sports. This is a unique year, because two of my favorite sports teams and the Body of Christ have something in common. 2010 is a year of transition for all parties named in this article. A year of transition indicates two things, first, this is going to be a year of stretching and growth; and second, everybody involved will feel the growing pains. As a member of the Body of Christ, I am already starting to feel the growing pains. Growing means change; change means stretching out of your comfort zone, hence the growing pains. You are being transformed out of the likeness of the world and more into His likeness. The pieces of you that were old are becoming new and it will take time for everything to fall into place and operate at optimum efficiency. God will tweak you piece by piece, bit by bit, and thought by thought until you are where He wants you. Sure, He could change you all at once, but you likely would fall apart under the pressure. That is why God allows for a transition phase as He takes you from glory to glory. So it is in the world of sports.
The Detroit Pistons, my favorite basketball team, are in a year of transition. They are adjusting to a new head coach, John Kuester. A new coach in the sports world means a new coaching system and style to learn for the players. In addition to the new head coach, the Pistons have also had numerous alterations to their roster. Key players in their world championship victories, such as Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace, are no longer with the team. Ben Wallace also moved on to the Chicago Bulls, but has returned to the Pistons. The Pistons were well known for their team mentality, that no one player is more valuable than another. But now there is a new team in place, with a new coach, and that group has to meld together. The melding process takes time to transition into a successful team. It will take the player learning the coaching system, the coach learning the players and their idiosyncrasies, and mixing that into a viable entity that will win basketball games.
The University of Michigan Wolverines is my favorite college football team. They, like the Pistons are also in the midst of transition. They acquired a new coach last season, along with numerous lineup changes. College football is an art to keep successful, because the lineup changes at least every four years. College players graduate, move on to professional football, or begin careers outside of football. The Wolverines these last few years have lost head coach Lloyd Carr to retirement, quarterback Chad Henne to the pros, and other key players, both offense and defense, to graduation. This new team is headed now by Rich Rodriguez, who has accepted the challenge to build a new team and work toward leading them to victory. This is a daunting task, building a successful enterprise almost from the ground up. Coach Rodriguez has to establish credibility with the rest of the coaching staff, the players, and then find and build leadership within the team. Assuming that he stays with Michigan for awhile, he faces this task again in four more years. Coach Rodriguez understands transition all too well.
The point of all of this is in Ephesians 4:15, which says, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ”. Our entire mission as Christians is to grow up into Christ. How many know that is a ton of growth, which will not end until we go to be with Him. There will be pains as you grow, habits that you do not want to change, lifestyles you may not want to give up, people that you associate with that you should not, and words you speak that ought not to be spoken. These are but a few of the things that are in the midst of transition. For some it is a matter of not spending time in prayer or in God’s Word enough, drawing nigh to Him. Guilty as charged!! That is one of my growing pains at this current moment. A word of advice, do not let your schedules overwhelm you. Find your time with God. He will cause everything else to fall into place, as long as He is given first priority, for He alone is worthy. So as we venture into 2010 with our game faces on, ready to make the changes that will benefit us spiritually as well as other areas of our lives, remember that the growing pains will subside, and you will be a stronger, more beautiful creature in Christ in the end. Until next time may God bless and keep you, and may His face shine upon you. To our Lord be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever. Amen.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. – 1 Corinthians 3:7