By Michael Hill
“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.”
-Psalm 128:1 (NIV)
My first college football coach had three rules. 1: Walk on the sidewalk. He said if we were supposed to walk on the grass, God would not have created concrete for us to walk on. 2: Don’t wear your hat inside. Wearing a hat inside will make you lose your hair. 3: Do whatever Coach tells you to do. Rule #3 pretty much covered everything else in our lives.
Like every set of rules, there were both good and bad consequences depending on whether or not we followed them. One positive consequence was that a young man could end up with an NFL contract after playing football for Coach. One negative consequence was that a young man could find his scholarship taken away the third time he broke the team rules—any of them.
In Psalm 128 we read a positive consequence for those of us who follow God’s rules. It says that we will be blessed. Psalm 128 is only six verses long, and all six of them tell us the good things that happen when we follow God’s rules. If we choose to break His rules, however, the negative consequences are a little more costly than just losing our scholarship. We receive eternal separation from Him in what the Bible says is a lake of fire.
While I was on the team, I never saw Coach go back on his word. He never gave anyone a fourth chance, not even some All-Americans who got kicked off the team. Once you broke the rules for the third time, you were flat gone.
Thankfully, our Master Coach, God, does not have such a team policy. The Bible tells us that all who follow God’s team rules are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Just to make sure we get it right, God sent His one and only Son to atone for all the times we break His team rules. Does that mean we should keep on breaking them? No. There are still consequences for our disobedience. But thankfully, even if we break the rules three times, God’s grace is sufficient and we are still part of His team.
1. How does your earthly coach react when you break the team’s rules?
2. Have ever broken a team rule? How did you feel afterward?
3. When you break God’s rules, how do you feel?
4. What does God’s grace mean to you, and how can you walk in it today?
Revelation 20:15; 21:26-27
“Father, help us to listen to You as You explain the rules we are to live by. Help us to follow those rules simply because we love You and You love us.”