Some of the most influential people in my life have been coaches. They made me sign a Code of Conduct when I played high school and college sports. They gave me clear cut expectations about behaviors but, more importantly, the person I was to become. I agreed to abide by the terms of the document when I signed the bottom line and turned it in. We all knew some people signed it, tossed back at the coach and went on living the way they wanted to live. They didn’t take it seriously. Some of them were elite athletes at the time. The rest of us were average at best. But, I believe deep down, we understood exactly what the coaches were trying to do by requiring us to sign such a document.
Sometimes it’s not what we do but the people we become along the process. Sports, dance, music, chess, academia, race car driving are all means to an end. But, sometimes we mistake the doing over the becoming. I believe this is why some elite performers can be real jerks. They get puffed up because they can do a certain thing. What some don’t realize is there will be a day, in the not too distant future, when they won’t be able to do the thing. One day, they have to get up in the morning and look at the reflection in the mirror. More often than not, they have no idea who that person is staring back at them.
Christ followers can fall into the similar trap. The signing of our Code of Conduct is optional. We have a choice. The decision to even follow Jesus Christ is sometimes clouded in emotion. We can get overcome when confronted with the truth about ourselves. It is easy for me to get swept up and I could sign any document if I am emotional and convicted about my sins or behaviors. Once the emotions fade, it’s also pretty easy to move on without changing. It’s like believing my emotions should count for something. Getting emotional isn’t repentance. The kind of repentance God is calling us toward is different than being emotional and sorry things turned out the way they did. ‘Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.’ (2 Corinthians 7:10)
Jesus signed our ultimate Code of Conduct with his own blood. Many say they are followers and are grateful for what he did for them. But, I wonder sometimes if followers of Jesus understand what is required to be part of his expanding team. Jesus outlined some very distinctive expectations for his followers in the Sermon on the Mount. This week we talk about our the power of our word, treatment of difficult team members and care of out right enemies. Fasten your seat belt. Coach wants a sit down with you. Please don’t be late for your appointment.
When he saw the vast crowds of people, Jesus’ heart was deeply moved with compassion, because they seemed weary and helpless, like wandering sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 The Passion Translation