by Anna Trent, FCA Field Associate
Why does the presence of someone change the way you compete?
In Deuteronomy 1:19-33 Moses is recounting the time when the Israelites were so close to entering the promise land finally after escaping from Egypt. The Israelites had been traveling for a long time, guided by God, and this was to be the last stretch of the travel – the fourth quarter of the game! All they had to do was to take possession of the land of the Amorites – which God has promised them that they would conquer!
The people thought it’d be a good idea to spy on the land first before they were to go to battle. When they returned, they lost heart when their eyes focused on a different audience and said, “The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there” (vs. 28). They even turned on God by blaming Him for their fear and obstacles by saying that “God hates us” (v. 27) Moses reminds them of God’s promise by saying that “The Lord Your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did in Egypt” (v. 30). God had given them the promise that they will conquer the Amorites and enter the land and that He will go before them – but they still refused to enter the land. Therefore, God sent them in the wilderness to wonder for 40 years until that generation dies off.
So why did they not enter the land, even though they were guaranteed victory? They had an audience of man rather than God. This led them to not trust the character of God that He is faithful to His promises – it was their disbelief that led to the disobedience. They placed their trust in man and feared man above God.
God’s promise of the promise land was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He did fight for as, as He promised in Deuteronomy, when Christ paid the penalty of God’s wrath against sin and rose again the third day to overcome the penalty. And through repentance and belief in God’s promise, we can stand justified before God apart from works – we get to enter the promise land of God’s holy presence.
In our competition, how often do we also fear man above God – seeking to please coaches, teammates, parents, proving one-self to others, seeking recognition, and not trusting in the promise of God through Jesus Christ? In those moments we say that God is a liar and not deserving of our full worship and trust.
How can we have God as an audience?
1.We must repent of sin and believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of Sin.
2.We should daily “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.
- Who was the audience of the Israelites? Why?
- What audiences do you have when you compete? Why?
- What does it mean to have Jesus Christ as an audience?
- How are we able to have Jesus Christ as an audience?
- How does the way you compete change when Jesus is your audience?
- How can you have Jesus as an audience in competition today?