Lesson # 1
The Christian Life is a Real Competition that Offers Real Rewards
We don’t compete against other people, but against spiritual forces.
We are in a competition between the forces of the flesh and the forces of the spirit.
The forces of the flesh are the demands of the body and mind.
The forces of the Spirit are God’s demands on the body and mind.
There are rewards for winning this battle.
Pleasing God is its’s own reward, but God promises us rewards in the life to come for faithful service under trial.
We can presume that James is alluding to sports here:
- Because of the culture
- Because of other comparable passages:
- 2 Timothy 4:8
- 1 Peter 5:4
- Revelation 2:10
- Because of Paul’s explicit sports analogies:
- 1 Corinthians 9:24–27
Lesson # 2
Get in the Triple Threat Position
The Christian Triple Threat:
- Quick to Hear
- Slow to Speak
- Slow to Anger
Benefits of the Christian Triple Threat:
- You avoid rash behavior by assessing the court before you make a decision.
- “By not telegraphing your next move, you open up the entire court.”
- Pass: Passing up the opportunity to take your shot now may create an opportunity to take a better shot later.
- Dribble: Paying attention to the other person’s tendencies helps you to identify opportunities to dribble past the conflict.
- Shoot: When you finally take your shot, it will the best possible decision that could be made in the moment.
- Anger must be reserved for when all other possible options have been patiently explored for a long time.
- You’re working diligently and patiently to understand the other person and to create an outcome that is beneficial.
- The Bible calls this quality long suffering.
- It’s an attribute of love.
Lesson # 3
Put Away the Junk
- Many Christians look at the word as if God’s commands are inherently judgmental, unrealistic and primarily reserved for preachers.
- We have this concept that preachers are “super holy” and people in the pew are just “regular Christians.”
- All Christians are special people called by God with extraordinary power from on High.
- Almost all the commands in the Bible address all Christians and not just pastors.
- When God gives us commands, He’s asking us to do something we can actually do.