“Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you…” — Deuteronomy 6:14
The other day I was on a call with one of my spiritual friends — you know, those close-knit sisters/brothers who bring a fresh breath of air to each conversation — and while chatting I noticed a sign hanging in my hotel room. It was the evacuation plan, the quickest route to exit the hotel, in case of an emergency. The conversation between my friend and I was directed toward the ability of each human to change the trajectory of eternity, just by walking in the plans that God has set apart for each person.
Then it dawned on me: Our life is literally an evacuation plan. At some point or another, we are going to leave this earth. When I do, I want my escape route to go directly to Heaven. Where do you want to go?
What the Lord was speaking to me through this plan was, as humans, we can live this life our way … or God’s way. Living it with selfish ambition looks a lot like taking the elevator during a fire, when the evacuation plans says to take the stairs only. When we run a race that’s not meant for us, we end up running into a lot of wear and tear that God did not intend for our life. When we walk the path God has set for us, we run into the people He’s also intended us to partner with in bringing salvation. Just like the escape route, if you veer off from alignment with God, the results can be disastrous.
Now, I’ve mis-stepped time and time again, and I do believe there’s grace for that. However, we should be living with a sense of urgency and purpose, knowing that at the end of the escape route is eternity. Our goal is love God and love people. The majority of loving people entails aiding Jesus in introducing them to the Savior.
So, to be blunt: Don’t get caught going the wrong direction in a burning building. If we stay in lockstep with Jesus, who’s intentions are only holy and pure, then we will be guided through the burning fire, through the storms and through life’s trials, all while saving others in the process.
What does this have to do with sports, you might ask? Deuteronomy 6:14 says, “Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you…” As a former player now working in the sports and entertainment industry, I have seen my fair share of athlete stardom. When athletes arrive on game day, unload from the bus and walk to the stadium, in an instant a crowd is formed to spectate. There’s constant “oohs” and “ahhs” as the athletically gifted make their way to the field.
What is concerning is the amount of praise that the sports/entertainment realm receives. Not that giving credit to those who compete at an elite level is unholy, but ranking your awe and wonder for sports over the Lord is a disaster waiting to happen. S.O.S., EVACUATE! So think about the performers you’re dying for an autograph or picture from. Has this idolization become a god in your life? Have you surpassed people who are waiting to hear from the Lord because of your idolic distractions? If so, flee from it and turn back to the only God.
How do we stay closely connected to the Lord amid many of life’s “gods” vying for our attention? Read the evacuation plan — I mean, the Bible. Talk to God, seek His face, read His Word, find Christian community to be a part of and allow the transformative power of the Holy Spirit to saturate into your mind, body and soul. God is my first call, the 9-1-1 of my life, and without Him at the top of my emergency action plan, my chances of walking through life unscorched are slim to none.
Friends, let’s not miss any part of the plan He’s set forth for us.
— Karlie Smith
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