I watched a football drill sequence once that was training quarterbacks on their footwork while they were in the pocket. In football, the pocket refers to the area from which a quarterback is afforded the ability to look downfield for an open receiver to throw the ball to. This area is produced by the offensive line keeping the opposing team from getting to the quarterback. The trainees would shuffle around bags on the ground endeavoring to maintain a footing from which they can throw the ball. As the base’s position changed, the quality of that base was to be maintained. They were also to keep their eyes up at all times and not let their eyes worry about where their feet were going. They were training themselves to keep their eyes up always so they could react to the pocket’s condition. A quality pocket is vital to a quarterback’s ability to lead his team down the field to the end zone.
What if the quarterback got out of the pocket when he’s not supposed to, though? Even the best lineman can’t help defend a quarterback that isn’t in position. What good is a defense that doesn’t have anything to defend? The same is true in our lives.
GOD has put the highest quality offensive line up for you. The first chapter of John says that GOD’s Light cannot be overcome by darkness, and not only that, but it has come (past tense) in the form of Jesus. Jesus said that light is ours in John chapter eight. Glory to GOD! GOD’s glorious light is your offensive line on the field of your life, and it produces a pocket that will not falter as you follow through with the play. But what if you aren’t in that pocket? What good is the best pocket going to do you as you move to follow through with the play? Well, not a bit of good.
“Are you saying there are times when we are without GOD’s help?”
Yes. When GOD sets up something beneficial for us, and we don’t take advantage of it, we won’t experience those benefits. That has nothing to do with GOD not wanting to give us those benefits, because obviously He wanted us to experience them. He sets us up for success, but if we go for those benefits in a way that is contrary to what GOD set up, we will miss out on those benefits no matter what GOD’s will is. That’s what a good portion of the book of Deuteronomy is saying: this way, or that way; you choose.
The quarterback is just one component of the team playing on the field. Those eleven individual players have one thing in common, and it’s not the uniform. The thing they all have in common is the goal their coach has set before them. The thing they all share is the weight of the responsibility to run the play the coach has called. That’s what makes a team a team. The whole team moves to complete that play, and if the quarterback doesn’t run in line with that play and gets out of sync with the rest of the team, that’s on the quarterback not the coach.
We are on a team with GOD as our coach. The Bible says that we work together with GOD. It also says that we are His ambassadors. We are on His team and we carry His will. If we move out of GOD’s will – if we don’t run the play He called – we will not achieve our goal of His will in our lives. He called that play for a reason, and the rest of the team is moving to complete that particular play. If you don’t run in line with that play, that’s on you, not GOD. When He says to run a play that involves you staying in the pocket and passing the ball, you had better stay in that pocket, find where to pass the ball, and pass that ball.
I heard once, “Champions are made when the stands are empty.” This concept refers to the fact that practice can be more important than performance.
As you go through life, you will be presented with relatively small decisions. When you get some down time do you participate in a hobby or do you read your Bible and pray? When you have a decision in business, do you seek GOD’s advice and peace first or do you wait until you have no other choice to cry out to the Lord? When sickness tries to keep you down, do you power through it or do you stand against it? When depression or fear attempts to creep into your thought life, do you toe that line of self destruction or didn’t the Son set you free? That’s when you practice. That’s when you train yourself to keep your eyes up and you learn to adapt your footing and you reinforce strong posture. That’s when GOD’s coaching works in your life. That’s when you make Psalm forty and two real in your life. That’s when you make Psalm one hundred twenty-one real in your life. That’s when you become the wise man Jesus refers to at the end of Matthew chapter seven. That’s when you obey GOD’s command in Ephesians the sixth chapter to suit up, and that’s when you stand!
Though it’s cliche, practice makes perfect is true. We can all say that we are not perfect, but in GOD’s word “perfect” does not mean “flawless”. In the context of the Bible, it means “mature”. We need to practice making the plays GOD calls – practice staying in line with GOD’s word – so that when game day rolls around, we can be mature enough to follow His lead and make the plays He calls in order to win. One big decision can take care of a lot of little ones, so determine to listen to GOD’s coaching, because without Him we cannot be victorious.