I’ve played a lot of football. Pickup tackle games in HS and college and later, wearing just T shirts and shorts. Intramural in college, even several seasons in a competitive flag league in my mid 50s. But the pic above depicts a different way to play football. In my mid 40s, Temecula had the Over the Hill Pigskin Shoot Out, where guys over 30 strapped on pads and played for charity. The pic above was the first game—and the first time I ever put on pads to play tackle.
In that first game I played tight end, and once while going out on a pass route I got decked. Absolutely flattened. Out of nowhere, totally unexpected. No ball in the air. Hit by someone who didn’t know the game. Yeah, a penalty, but as I flew backward that gave little comfort. As the ground approached I readied myself for pain like in the pickup games, but it never came. I then discovered the reason to wear all the gear—the pads, the helmet, and all.
Those things guard you. They don’t keep you from getting knocked down, just from getting knocked out. Kind of nice, and I played in three of those games, with a 2-1 record.
In following Jesus, we also need to gear up, but in a perhaps unexpected way. Listen to Paul’s advice, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then…his peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
God’s peace will guard us. I looked up all the times the New Testament uses the term “guard,” and nearly all are either military terms or that we should guard ourselves. But here, God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds as we follow Jesus. Yes, like I got smacked in the game, that will happen in life. But like the gear guarded me, God’s peace guards us. But notice the logic flow—God’s peace guards us as we choose to not worry, as we tell him what we need and as we practice gratitude.
So, the gear we strap on for the Christian life? Avoiding worry because we give it to God. We trust him. Yeah, we’ll get knocked down, but not out
Kick Starting the Application
Think back to a time that you got knocked down spiritually, and nearly knocked out. Did you have that gear on? How often do you seem to get knocked down? What does that suggest about the frequency of gearing up? Now, let’s get practical. Determine 3 things you’ll try to regularly incorporate into your daily life.