Last night my husband and I were sitting at the bar in one of our favorite restaurants– waiting to be seated. The place was packed. We had to inch our way through a gridlock of bodies, handbags, toddlers, and a few timid waiters wielding weighty trays just to make a pit stop at the bar. We were worn from the week and ready to bid it adieu and also to greet the weekend as we would an old friend. While sitting at the bar, I noticed that the sports reporters on ESPN were talking about football ALREADY! I feel like the season just ended, and they’re already talking about free agents, trades, and Erin Andrews’ windfall.
While sitting there, I zoned out for a minute or two to focus on what it takes to win in life and in football. Between nods in response to my husband as he regaled me with the finer points of coaching strategies, I realized a few things about winning. You must be part of a team with a strong leader. You must discuss your strategy in the huddle, get fired up, run the plays, and gain some ground. You repeat this process again and again, though you may lose a little yardage, you may still have time to get the win. If we get in the huddle, and then run back to the bench without running the plays (as told by Francis Chan in his book The Forgotten God), we’re doing something wrong.
Chan used the analogy to express how Christians go to church and get fired up but then do nothing with that fire. What Chan doesn’t do is give you marching orders. Once you leave the huddle fired up–whether it’s church or bible study, you must make a plan to keep that fire burning. If your goal is to win souls for Christ, you can’t do it with a wet wick, a dim light, or faith that is on life support. You must add fuel to your fire, and may it burn so brightly that it draws others toward you, and when they see your strong faith, they will want to know the God that you rely on completely.
For my friends who love lists, here are 10 Ways to Fuel Your Fire:
- Read the word of God daily to nourish you spiritually.
- Dive deeper after reading (i.e. research and discuss findings).
- Seek wise counsel and listen, or ask a mentor to help arm you with tools for winning this war.
- Pray to God (with the intercession of the holy spirit) for strength to endure the fight.
- Huddle up again and again. This should not be a one-time event. Take advantage of this time to fellowship with other believers.
- Leave with strategies for winning souls for Christ and execute the plan.
- Rest, hydrate, and eat. Feeding others is hard work. You need to rest and feed yourself so you can continue the fight.
- Enlist the aid of others. A good leader needs soldiers. Remember Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. You can’t fight the enemy alone.
- Reflect and Regroup when you lose ground. Don’t give up. Never give up. You may lose a battle or two, but you will win the war. Be of good cheer even when you face trials.God has overcome the world (John 16:33).
- Praise and worship! Let everything that has breath praise him (Psalm 150:6). For God alone deserves the glory and the honor.
We must also remember to cut ourselves some slack. There are no statisticians keeping record of how many souls you win for Christ — other than the official scorekeeper himself and the official cheerleaders who rejoice each time a sinner repents (Luke 15:10). You should set realistic goals, and pray that your wishes are in sync with God’s will. Don’t worry about the ones who still won’t acknowledge him, just continue to pray for them. Never miss an opportunity to use this strategy while waging war against the enemy. Stop what you’re doing and pray for all who are on spiritual life support. The enemy will convince you that the LSU and Alabama game or preparing your homemade goodies for the game are more important than that person that God just put on your heart. Show him what you learned in the huddle, run that play, and gain a few yards toward your ultimate goal — hearing “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).