I don’t usually run the offense. When I play regularly I will hit the wing and take an outside shot. If I haven’t played in a while then I will post up and either block or pass to a better shooter. In half-court games you will notice after every shot a pause. The offense gets set. The defense gets set. Then the ball is handed to a defensive player and checked. For those not familiar with basketball, I do not mean it is examined. What I mean is that once everyone on the floor is in position and ready then the ball is given back to the offense for the play to begin. Fair play dictates that every person be ready before starting. God needs no time to get ready, but we do. We need to check the spiritual ball with God.
And He (Jesus) said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Notice the word daily. In half-court “rules”, after every made basket the teams check the ball. Even in full-court, after a stoppage of play we will check the ball. Our 40-something bodies need a breather sometimes anyway and that is a good excuse! However, we check the ball because it allows everyone to be ready. Jesus wants us to check the spiritual ball daily.
Following Jesus is more than being a fan of Jesus. To follow is to actively pursue Jesus. Too often, we misunderstand this concept and lead people to follow rules, follow a religion, or follow a person. Like many of you, I grew up in an environment of “Do’s” and “Dont’s”. But to be a disciple of Jesus means to follow Jesus. Jesus wants us to check in daily with him. This simply means that we are to make sure we are in sync before moving.
While the ball is being checked in, there is little movement. Once checked, there is a rush of activity. In the pause we match up and make certain we are in our spot. The offense will pause to not give away where they are going to go next. Jesus encourages a pause, too. Deny yourself. Pause and check the ball. Stop moving. Stop running. Stop and breath in the presence of God (Psalm 46:10) and check the ball. Make sure everyone knows what is going to happen.
- The next time you find yourself stressed out, check the ball.
- The next time you face a tough decision, check the ball.
- The next pause in your day, check the ball.
- When you lie down and when you wake up, check the ball.
- As you drive down the road or run down the hall for the next meeting, check the ball.
Make sure you are on the same page with God. Check the ball.