A coach loves to have a good player on his or her team. Knowing that you can count on one of your players to follow through is refreshing to the one calling the shots. No matter what the sport, all coaches can agree that the most valuable players on a team are the ones who heed the calls. The truth is as a part of a team all the players should work together to fulfill the vision of the head coach. From college sports to the Olympics I have always enjoyed watching disciplined players follow the plans of their coaches to claim the victory. It did not surprise me when God gave me a spiritual metaphor about the relationship between The Coach, The Assist, and the player.
A while back, I began a study of Scriptures on disciplining my flesh. I began to receive the truth that I was not a slave to my emotions, learning that I did not have to be ruled by what my thoughts, feelings, or body told me. This revelation that I am a spirit whom God created literally changed how I played this game called life. I learned that although we should not walk in perfectionism we definitely can not progress when we excuse our actions on account of how we feel. Our Coach does not accept our flesh as a cop out for our performance and neither should we.
"But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. If indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His,"
(Romans 8:9 NKJV)
From exercise to using kind words when we communicate with others, disciplining our flesh takes a decision, but with God in us we need to "bring it" everyday. I remember a time when this player was not going to take it when my flesh told me that I was too tired and too busy to workout. I remember passing by a mirror, looking at myself, and saying, "Flesh, you do not call the shots you take them." I was a little surprised at this statement coming from my mouth, but then smiled when I remembered that I was not in this game alone. The night before God painted a picture in my heart of what my team looks like:
God-----------------Head Coach...The One calling the plays
The Holy Spirit------The Assist.....delivering the message and helping the play move forward
the player-----------"A Work in Progress" Spirit receiving the call/Flesh taking the shot
For most of my Christian life I had allowed my flesh to call the shots instead of taking the shots. God reminded me through this illustration of an important truth about how to walk in victory. The role of the flesh is to do what the Spirit tells it to do based on the assistance of the Holy Spirit, guided by the direction of God, the Head Coach. Many people, including myself, have given the clipboard and whistle to our flesh and wonder why our lives continue to lose again and again. If the flesh needs to be benched for a time it is worth it in order to get our hearts instead of our heads in the game. Call a time out before it comes to the point that we receive a technical foul. We either discipline our flesh or there will come a point when someone or something will have to discipline it for us.
The great part about being a player on God's team is that even when we mess up we can still win the game. Right before God tells us to not walk in the flesh He encourages us that although we will sometimes fall short of the Spirit we do not need to walk in guilt, in fact there is freedom even as "A Work in Progress”.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death,"
(Romans 8:1 NKJV).
The verses following tell us that because of Jesus we are made righteous, because Jesus made it possible for us to be on God's team in the first place. Although what we do in the game helps, it is not what we do that positions us to win it is why we do it which gives us the momentum that we need to succeed. The championship is found in the relationship. The more quality time that we spend in God's Word the quicker we notice when someone or our own flesh tries to tell us to deviate from the promises of our Head Coach. When we yield to God, allow the Holy Spirit to assist us in the game, and discipline our flesh to take the action directed by our loving Coach even as “A Work in Progress” we can claim victory.