Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 13 | I Hate Falling

There was a time in my life where playing basketball was one my favorite recreational things to do but my love for hoops changed when I hit my 40s. A little extra weight. A slower step and a lower jump.  Faster and stronger young guys to defend. Nagging injuries that wouldn’t heal fast enough. The game got quicker and I got slower. It became less fun and more painful, so I hung up my basketball shoes. But this winter, a buddy convinced me to come out of retirement. Something in me missed playing ball plus my doctor said I needed more cardio exercise in my life. “Why not?” I asked myself. “How bad could it be?”

Week one was tough. My lungs were on fire, my jump shot was flat, and I found some muscles the next day that I forgot I had. But, I survived!  So, I went back the next week. Week two was much better.  I found some rhythm and a bit more endurance. I hit some shots and felt that I held my own on the court even with all the younger guys there. So, I went back the next week. I should have quit while I was ahead and healthy because on week three, I got matched up against a 20-something dude half my age. This is how it all went down. 

My entire night lasted less than 90 seconds. My team started with the ball, a shot was quickly taken and the kid I was to guard got the rebound and turned quickly down the court to lead a fast break. I was ready for him… so I thought.  My heart, my head and my body didn’t have same plan.  My heart said, “Stop him!”  My mind said, “You better get going or he’s gonna blow by you.”  My body said, “_________________.”  Yeah… I got nothing.  Instead my feet got tangled up, I began to stumble and in an awkward moment of complete lack of physical control, I simply fell backward landing squarely on my gluteus maximus. The impact radiated through my lower vertebrae as I felt each bone bang against the other. There I lay, done for the night.

A few weeks later, I shared this story in a coffee shop with a young guy I’m mentoring.  He’s a good guy who’s working through the long process of recovering from the consequences of some bad choices he made. As we talked, we came to the conclusion that we were both healing from clumsy, awkward, and painful falls. My butt and lower back were still hurting. His heart and soul were hurting even more. He laughed at my Old Man basketball fall and I tried to encourage him in his quest to rebuild from his Young Man fall. We both agreed that falling just stinks. 

But then he showed me some verses that stood out to him in our recent Bible study from 2 Peter 1. There were two phrases that jumped out to him. Here they are.

These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires… 2 Peter 1.4 NLT

 Do these things, and you will never fall away (“stumble” in the NIV).  2 Peter 1.10 NLT

These phrases are six verses apart. So what’s in between these phrases? What does the divine nature look like? Is a stumble-free life really possible? Grab your Bible today and read through 2 Peter 1 and check this out. There are some incredible promises here. Peter declares that the divine nature is composed of the growing virtues of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. When these Spirit-driven virtues consume our lives, drifting, stumbling, and falling become virtually impossible.  But remember, there are enemies to the divine nature (distraction and drift) that want to see you land hard on your fanny and take you out of the game.  

What’s your desire today? Would you rather continue to be constantly picking yourself off your spiritual gluteus maximus or would you rather have the divine nature shine through you?  Pretty easy answer, isn’t it? 

-Phil Niekerk

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Phil. What an amazing thought that we can "never stumble again" Hard to wrap my mind around but amazing promise. Good word today! Thanks brother