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Do Not Be Ashamed

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When it comes to living a life that is not ashamed of what we believe and hold deep in our hearts about Christ, that belief affects every aspect of our life. It is not something we celebrate only during worship or among our “Christian friends,” but it permeates all we do.

Included in that “all we do” is our recreation; for many of us that recreation involves sports, either for us our children or grandchildren or other family members and friends. Our faith can transcend all aspects of our lives and that is part of why sports ministry works.

Through White River Sports, we impact the lives of youth and adults in our community who play sports, but we also affect coaches, referees and spectators. Coaches play a key role in what we do in our lives and the importance of a coach cannot be overlooked. For any of us who have participated in athletics, if we think back to the great influences in our lives, a coach is normally near the top of that list, whether it was one year, one decade or seemingly, one lifetime ago.

Billy Graham once said “A coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in an entire lifetime.” As a coach, I take that as a personal challenge to influence people positively for Christ – not for my glory, but for the glory of God. As a coach, we influence the players, parents and other coaches with whom we interact. As a parent of a player on a team, as supporter of the team, we can have an influence on the coach, players and opponents.

We read in Romans 1:16-17. “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes – the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

If we apply that to how we interact with everyone, the influence of Christ in us rolls over into everyone we meet. We don’t have to be overbearing in our faith, just consistent with it. Steve Alford once said “I'm a Christian first. I'm a family guy second. As much as I like coaching, as much as I like basketball, it's third, fourth, or fifth down the line.” I believe this sums up the importance of how we treat our faith in how we live each and every day.

 

From Faith to Faith

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For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

You can't read the Bible like a regular book. There's just too much greatness that doesn't get caught with a casual skim. Every once in a while you read through a passage that makes you hit the brakes, makes you go back and ask, "What does this mean?"

Romans 1:17 is such a passage. When I come across these passages, the revisit is always worth it. When I look around for context, when I drill down to see what the language really means, there's always some extra-special meaning waiting there to be discovered.

The phrase here that made me do a double-take is "from faith to faith." Such an odd combination. What could Paul be talking about here?

I found no short supply of analysis of this verse when I searched. There exists some disagreement on how the verse should be translated, thus there's also not a consensus on what it means. What did jump off the page to me was this from Matthew Henry's commentary:

Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of Christian life. It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works kept us in it; but it is all along from faith to faith; it is faith pressing forward, and gaining the victory over unbelief.

 

This makes so much sense to me. We don't receive any kind of explosive, one-time revelation of God's righteousness. It's a life-long process, building strength over time. 

I accepted Christ at a young age, but my knowledge of God's righteousness was extremely limited. I knew enough to make a confession of faith, but the reality was that was just my jumping off point. 

Almost 40 years later the faith I have now is many generations removed from what I had as a boy. It's been shaped by doubt, by tragedies, by struggles and by overcoming; it's been shaped by experiences with others, through reading and listening, and most of all, through further revelation found in God's Word.

I don't know how I'd label this current version of my faith. It's a far cry from the "beta" version I emerged from the waters of baptism with. It's probably something like v. 36.2. 

I do know that it's stronger every day, not always in a sense of belief but always in a sense of presence and providence. And I also know it's still growing in changing.

Like Paul said in I Corinthians 13, "Now we see through a glass darkly." The evolution of my faith in this life is like trying to find the end of pi. It simply can't be done.

But unlike the futile search for the end of a mathematical constant, my search for a deeper level of faith is always fruitful. It always changes my life for the better.

I'm thankful that God keeps revealing Himself to us, letting us grow in Him at our own speed. I'm thankful for His patience with me when I get stuck.

And I'm thankful that some day it will all be fulfilled and we will reach the completion of our journey from faith to faith.

Posted by Chuck Chapman with
Tags: faith

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