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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Friday, July 3

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” — Galatians 5:25

The Spirit Leads

One year ago, basketball fans found themselves glued to their TVs in the midst of one of the most intriguing NBA Finals series of all time. Both the Raptors and Warriors had to overcome one of the most loaded and talented NBA playoff brackets in history to earn the opportunity to compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy. To top it all off, Golden State was aiming for a three-peat and Toronto was battling for the honor of bringing a championship to the “North” for the first time in NBA history.

With a storyline for the ages and a series that was filled with moments of competition, elation, tribulation and triumph, it was one moment in particular that stood above the rest. The scene was Game 5 with Toronto leading the series 3-1. Kevin Durant came off the bench from injury to try to help his teammates battle back in the series. Dribbling down the court with 9:50 left in the second quarter, while giving the Warriors all he had in him, Durant hit the floor. He ruptured his Achilles tendon. In a moment of raw emotion, Durant had to be assisted off the floor and taken to the locker room. He would miss the remainder of the Finals and the following season.

It was in this moment that Steph Curry, Durant’s teammate, departed the court and helped Durant to the locker room during his moment of darkness and pain. Curry could have stayed on the court, kept competing and throwing up shots in an attempt to come back in the series. But instead, Curry chose to deny himself and his own desires, and chose to be with his brother in his time of need to provide unity and love.

When asked by reporters after the game why he made the decision to leave the court with the game still ongoing, Curry said, “Sometimes the Spirit tells you what to do. You don’t really make decisions, you just act on it. I can’t tell you what went through my head. It just felt right.”

With a Spirit-filled heart, Curry chose to listen to the Spirit’s leading, and through his obedience Curry showed the love of Christ by being with his brother in his time of pain. (Golden State went on to win 106-105 to force Game 6, but the Raptors won the series.)

Just as Curry acted in a moment’s notice to follow the Spirit, we also must be attuned to the Spirit’s prompting in our hearts and be ready to obey the Spirit’s leading. Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” We should walk in love, or run in Curry’s instance, toward the people who need Christ’s love during a time of pain, mourning or darkness.

While we may not be on the worldwide stage of the NBA Finals, each day let us take time to observe, be aware of, and bring hope to those around us, for those moments are opportunities given to us by God to forever touch someone’s heart and show true Christlike love, humility and sacrifice.

After all, the eternal impact of walking in the Spirit and shining His light will far outweigh any momentary elation that a championship trophy may provide.

— Ryan Vilfer

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