I graduated from high school and entered into community college with everything in my life seeming to be heading on track for the story that I had written out for myself. I was going to be a Major League Baseball player and this community college thing was the next step towards achieving that dream. Education was secondary, and I was heading to college solely to pursue a degree in baseball. Middle Georgia College had a high reputation as a junior college baseball powerhouse and had sent many players on to bigger and better places. I wasn’t attending school for any other reason but to pursue my dream which just happened to be outside of any classroom. But why? Education is extremely important and beneficial, and yet, I cared so little about what was going on in the classroom. Why was I so set on being a Major League Baseball player that everything else didn’t seem to matter? What was my motivation? Sure, being a great professional athlete is every little boy’s dream, but I was no longer a little boy so there had to be more motivating me than just childhood fantasy. At the time, I never even considered to stop and ask myself this question but now, older and wiser, and with the gift of hindsight, I can better examine my intentions and motives, and I have discovered a most unpopular answer. You see, the more you allow God into your life, the more He brings to light what is hidden in darkness and exposes the true motives of your heart. Sure, I loved the game of baseball and therefore, I wanted to be successful at the very thing that I had dedicated so much of my time and energy towards, but I would be lying if I established the love of the game as my sole driving force. Truth is, I wanted GLORY. I wanted to be rich and famous and revered by everyone around me. I wanted to be exalted and have others look up to me in awe of my greatness, and I knew that playing in the big leagues could provide this high esteem. Now, real quick, before you start accusing me of over exaggerating or over analyzing here, allow me to try and explain myself. I am not saying that everyone who desires to be successful in life is guilty of this kind of self-seekingness. We are called to strive for greatness and to do great things with the different abilities that God has so graciously alloted to each and everyone one of us. Aspiring to be successful wasn’t my error. My error could be found in my motivation for gaining such success. I’m not speaking for anyone other than myself on this issue. God gave me a special ability, and I wanted to use that ability to promote myself rather than promoting the greatness of God. I know this to be true because of the way in which I pursued the emptiness of popularity and the applause of spectators.
I was no dummy, or perhaps, I was actually a full blown idiot depending on the way in which you look at it, but either way, I was aware of the greatness of God and His sovereignty and knew that He could help me pursue my dream. So what did I do? I attempted to make a deal with God. “Ok, here’s the deal God, if You will grant me success and get me to the big leagues then I can use my platform as a great professional athlete to proclaim Your name.” I knew God could help me, after all, ask and you shall receive, right? It sounded like a brilliant transaction at first that seemed to benefit both parties involved, but this was only because I couldn’t see the absolute wretchedness of this kind of thinking. How extremely arrogant and selfish to even conceive such a plot! Completely blinded by my own pride, I was in no way seeking God’s glory but rather my own. I was attempting to use God for selfish gain. I had exalted myself to a position that I was never intended to have and was attempting to snatch the pen out of God’s holy hand and write my own life story. I had forgotten or perhaps never understood who I really was in Christ.
REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian believers, he tells the Gentiles there to remember who you were before Christ saved you. Remember that you were looked down upon by the Jewish nation and considered unclean. Remember that you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. Remember that you were the mutts with no pedigree, but now by the grace of God through Jesus the Christ, you who once were far away have been given citizenship in God’s kingdom. This idea of remembering who we were before God saved us keeps us humble and halts the advancement of ourselves. Often times, we need to be put in our place and know our role. We need to remember that we are the creation and He is the Creator. We are the lump of clay and He is the Potter. If you think of yourself more highly than this then you are guilty of exalting yourself. And if we rise up against God then we are most certainly going to fall. This was that first great sin in the garden and ask yourself how that one has turned out. Now you may be quick to retort, “but we are the special creation made in the image of God”? Yes, I agree with you but remember, we were also made from dirt. Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought. Too often we get this crazy notion that we have some wisdom to offer God and can better help Him write His story. This is foolishness! God is the great Author of life and we are merely the characters in the play. We can no more change God’s plans and purposes than an actor can alter the writings of Shakespeare. We can give a bad performance but never alter the story.