By Rick Cowman
Two weeks ago, we talked about the skill of rebounding in the game of basketball and how important it is in the game of life! We have all made some bad shots at living life as God intended. We have all missed shots at the goal of devotion to Christ. We have all come up short of deeply knowing and loving Him to the fullest degree God desires. But the question of the week is, “How do we go about rebounding and getting back in the game?”
Look again at Revelation chapter 2, verses 1 through 7. Jesus told this church they had missed the goal and it was time to rebound! He said the them (and to us) in verse 4, “You have left your first love, Me!” Then He gives us the game plan to get back in the game and win (verse 5): “Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first!”
Here’s our game plan, according to Jesus. First, He said, “REMEMBER the height from which you have fallen…” We must first go back in our thoughts to the time when we first received God’s gift of grace and asked Jesus into our hearts and lives. We must go back and recall the passion we once had for Him. (This is a good time to ask ourselves if we have truly done this. This is the first step to everything!) What happened? What is it that you and I allowed into our lives that caused us to lose that passion for Christ and neglect our relationship with Him? Was it a diversion to find financial or social success? Was it a relationship that pulled us away? Or maybe it was just religious busyness? You fill in the blank.
Next, He said, “REPENT!” A more contemporary was to say it would be, “You are going in the wrong direction! You are shooting at the wrong goal! TURN AROUND! Turn away from what is keeping you far from Me, and turn toward Me! Look at Me!” You see, if we’re going to run in the right direction and hit the right goal, we must be looking at that goal; and the goal is Jesus! Men and women have left their marriages because they got their eyes off their mate and began to focus on someone else who seemed to meet their needs better. The same thing happens in our relationship with Christ when we get our eyes and ears off of Him and onto something or someone else! Listen, no one falls in love. It is a process of getting to know someone and becoming connected to them intimately to the point of committing our lives to that person! It doesn’t just happen overnight. And love dies the same way it grows, over time. We don’t fall out of love with Jesus. We just drift away from Him one step at a time! We just keep making one decision after another contrary to the commitment we made to Him in the beginning!
Finally, Jesus tells us we must “REPEAT!” We must “do the things we did at first”. He doesn’t tell us to begin feeling our way back to an intimate relationship with Him, but to start doing the things we did when we were first in love with Him! If we want our marriage to be what it “used to be”, we must DO the things we “used to do!” Returning to our first love requires a re-doing of the labors of love that marked our first encounter with Christ. What are they? They are the disciplines of prayer, Bible study and worship! And I’m not talking about a rote worship habit on Sunday, but a daily, personal time with the Lord! In other words, we must get back to the basics. Just like the great Green Bay Packer football coach, Vince Lombardi said to his team as they were losing at half time: “Gentlemen, let’s get back to the basics. This is a football!” If we’re going to get back in the game God has called us to in this life, then we must step up to the line and take another shot at the goal! Go ahead, take that shot this week!