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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Friday, August 2, 2019

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” — John 15:5

Pursuit of Perfection

In the modern era, only one NFL team has conquered the grueling task. Just 23 times has an MLB pitcher accomplished the feat. And within the college ranks, no more than a handful of teams can stake the claim — the claim of perfection. Though each situation may have the tag and notoriety of “perfection,” each respective incident was far from being completely perfect.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins went 17-0 but allowed 171 points; they didn’t score on every possession nor go the entire season without a penalty. No MLB hurler has ever struck out every batter faced or thrown merely the minimum of 27 pitches; the last to even accomplish the feat of a perfect game at the MLB level was Felix Hernandez in 2012.

And no collegiate sports team with a “perfect” record has gone a complete season without a turnover, a foul or recorded a 100 percent shooting percentage. So our gold standard of “perfection” is tainted at best, and dulled at worst, to a level in which our mortal heroes can obtain immortality.

Many athletes in the world overtrain endlessly, seeking the possibility and label of “perfection” — or at least a watered-down version thereof. Now, as believers in Christ, it can be discouraging that we too are called to a standard of perfection in everyday living. And unlike our human-construed version of what “perfection” is, Jesus boldly states in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” This can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be discouraging. Jesus also says in John 15:5 that “apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Fortunately, God recognizes our frailty. And so too, we must daily acknowledge our tremendous need for God’s strength — not relying on our abilities — in everything we do.

— Matt Dunn

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