“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” - Galatians 6:8 (NIV)
As competitors, we understand the law of the harvest. What we sow or plant today will produce a harvest at a later time with a greater result. We understand that the training we do today will not produce results today, or even tomorrow, but will produce great results down the road. It will even produce something greater than the training itself.
For example, in basketball, working overtime on shooting will produce not just a better shooter, but a better player for the team. The law of the harvest is about later and greater. The opposite of the law of harvest is the law of lust. This principle is not about the later or greater, but about the now and foul. Lust is too often associated narrowed to sexual lust only. But I have realized that lust can be applied to almost every area of my life. There can be athletic lust, intellectual lust, career lust and fitness lust to name a few.
Whereas the law of the harvest always delivers, lust never delivers what it promises. Lust says that you can have anything instantly and that it will satisfy. It tempts us to where we will do anything to get it, regardless of the consequences. We quickly realize, though, that these shortcuts do not work out. The now is short-lived, and the foul perverts the original purpose.
For example, sexual lust violates love and says, “I want it now regardless of who I hurt or abuse in the process, including myself.” Lust perverts the good. Sin takes what God has made for good pleasure and distorts it. As athletes, we have to be aware of the athletic lust that quickly invades our hearts. Most honest competitors will admit they battle with it.
Athletic lust wants the results without the time and commitment. We want results immediately without the effort. We want the starting position on the team without the discipline. It is all about the want without the work, and it is everywhere in sports. Athletic lust destroys teams because it is about selfishness. There is an even more destructive kind of lust, however, that has nothing to do with athletics or sex.
Lurking below the surface tempting all disciples of Christ is spiritual lust. And just like with athletic lust, we expect results without effort. The desire is to be spiritually mature without any commitment. Spiritual lust creates a one-sided relationship with Jesus Christ and places demands on God. We become consumed with what we can get from God and not give to Him. Spiritual lust even creeps into our prayer life. We lust for answers. Not answers that glorify Christ, but answers that take care of our needs according to our wants and desires.
We may not pray it this way, but God hears our hearts when we say, “Lord, not Thy will be done, but my will be done.” We need to be on lust patrol. We must proactively and intentionally patrol the perimeters of our hearts to make sure that lust is not leaking into our souls. We must be willing to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves about the lust in our hearts.
If we as athletes and coaches would recognize it and ask Jesus for forgiveness, we could be freed of this sin that weighs us down in so many areas of our life. Today, be lust-free. Pursue holiness with every ounce of energy that God has given you. We can change the world of sports by living for Christ with reckless abandon.
Start today. Start now.
1. What areas of lust do you struggle with? Why?
2. Why is it so hard to see lust in the mirror?
3. What are specific ways you can patrol the border of your soul?
4. What do you need to change in your life so that you can live by the law of the harvest and not the law of lust?
Psalm 126:5-6 Proverbs 11:18 Galatians 6:7-10 James 1:19-25
“Lord Jesus, I call upon Your name with boldness and power and ask for Your grace and mercy. I confess my lust. I ask for wisdom and revelation to take the steps necessary to live a victorious life. Place in me, Lord, a desire for purity in every area of my life. Keep watch over my heart. May Your Holy Spirit fill me with Your strength. I ask for my life to be marked with the law of the harvest. I want to plant holiness and righteousness in my life so that great things will spring forth at a later time. Thank You, Jesus. In Your name I pray. Amen."