Last Thursday night, I had the pleasure of going to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs opening round series between the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild. I love hockey and have been to many games in my lifetime, but I had never been to a playoff game. The experience was even better than I thought it would be.
The atmosphere was electric. I’ve never been to a game where the crowd was so in tune and invested in the game. Everyone took their game to another level. The coaches were looking for any weakness they could exploit. The players were skating faster and looking for any type of advantage they could find. As mentioned before, the crowd raised their game to support the home team. Even the marketing and media team took their game to the next level to create the best possible atmosphere.
Why did everyone step up and work harder and take their game to the next level? Because the stakes were higher. This was not just a regular season game. This was a playoff game. Lose four of those in a series and your season is done. Win four and you move on to the next round and compete to win the Stanley Cup, the ultimate prize in hockey which all players hope to win at least once.
While I was able to enjoy a 4-0 Dallas victory on Thursday night, I was also able to reflect on my relationship with Christ. What would it take for me to take that relationship to the next level? I believe it can be the same as what I saw at the hockey game – realize that the stakes are high.
How do you know the stakes are high? The Bible tells us. 1 Peter 5:8 says that “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” That is strong language aimed at you, Christian. Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Are you working through the power of the Holy Spirit to put sin to death in your life? If not, this verse says that you are living according to the flesh and will die. Finally, one of the most frightening passages in the Bible, in my opinion, is Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” This verse is frightening and humbling because many who claim to be followers of Jesus are not really following Jesus. They don’t really know Him. And they don’t realize this until it is too late.
So what does it look like for you to take your relationship with the Lord to the next level? Maybe that means you need to start a relationship with Christ. If you’ve never placed your faith, hope, and trust in Jesus, there is no greater decision you could make in your life. Please email me with any questions you may have about becoming a follower of Jesus. Maybe it means that you need to be more disciplined in your Christian life, whether that means reading God’s Word regularly, or praying more frequently, or being intentional about sharing the gospel or serving others. You’ve come to realize that the stakes are high, and now it’s time to act. The Christian life is not a walk through a meadow, it’s a war that requires discipline and complete obedience to your Commander. The stakes are high every day as our eternal lives and the eternal lives of others hangs in the balance.