Spiritual Training Cycle: Examination (wk. 4/13)
On a recent visit to College Station, TX, a friend of mine shared with me the history of Johnny Manziel. Playing for Texas A&M, Manziel won the 2012 Heisman Trophy, earned consensus All-American honors, and passed for seven touchdowns in the NFL. Very few quarterbacks can say the same in their professional career.
However, with those highs came many lows. Outside of suffering concussions and folding out of multiple teams in the Canadian league, Manziel admitted he never put in the work off the field needed to succeed. With so much access to excess came alleged assault charges, chugging bottles at night clubs, and missing games for the Cleveland Browns. It was the end of Johnny Football before we knew it. He had great God given potential that was yet to be fully realized.
I found it interesting that the things Manziel admitted doing off the field led to his downward spiral. Watching him from the stands, all you saw was a gifted football player. No wonder it came as a shock to the world when his moments of fame suddenly ended. It was his hidden life off camera, off the field, apart from his team that carried his real potential.
Manziel missed the mark. And so do we. For all of humanity, our God given potential is hindered by the reality of sin. Even though we have the potential to live in godliness, we are born with selfish and self-seeking desires that keep us trapped. We can exude a life of external happiness and still live in total internal turmoil. This is what David wrote about in Psalm 51 when his friend Nathan called him out for having an affair with another man’s wife. Even with all the money in the world David had as king, he couldn’t hide the mark he missed off the field. He writes in verses 3 and 4,
“For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”
Until God washes David clean, his sin is all that he can see. God has the potential to cleanse us when we don’t. What sin really does is reveal our universal need for God’s grace to heal us. He not only cleanses us, but when we call on Him, He makes us “whiter than snow,” erasing the history and existence of sin’s rule. Where we once were destined for the grave, through Jesus our potential now lies in heaven with God.
David didn’t stop with God’s forgiving grace but called on his transforming grace. While sin loses its authority in our life by believing in the finished work of Jesus, we still must live with the consequences. David wanted a life that no longer served his sinful desires but served God alone. He wrote a famous prayer in verse 10 saying,
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
The Holy Spirit lives within every believer that calls on the name of the Lord and who puts their faith in Jesus. Spiritual renewal comes from the daily influence of God’s Spirit in our lives teaching us to make choices and take actions that will change us. It’s a life you can start living today!
Sin tries to catch us when we are off the field, isolated and alone. That’s why community is so important. Being surrounded by others who also have their faith in Jesus helps guard us from attack. If there are marks you’ve missed that you’re hiding, or inner turmoil you’re facing, God wants to offer you grace. You can pray the same prayer as David and ask God to create a clean heart within you. You can only realize your God given potential when you receive the free gift of God’s forgiving and transforming grace.
Questions for Reflection:
How does your selfishness impact your God given potential?
What are some of the areas of your life where you can better serve God?