My philosophy for playing sports well is simple, “Know the basics of the particular game we are playing, and excel at those same basics!” How many times have we seen our favorite team lose because of errors (baseball), penalties (football) and fouls (basketball)? We often say that “they beat themselves” and “they were their own worst enemies.” The game was theirs to win and would have been won had it not been due to mistakes. If you are a sports enthusiast, you have frequently seen teams lose due to their own errors, penalties and fouls.

Let’s parallel our spiritual walk using these same principles. Can we endanger our personal relationship with God due to the errors, penalties and fouls we commit in our own lives? Can we “beat ourselves” and become our “own worst enemies”? In order for us to begin to remove the mistakes in our lives, we have to know the rules of His game. Where’s the rulebook? The rulebook is His Bible, His word. We must know the word of God and live His word obediently if we are to share total victory with Him! To “Know His basics and to excel at His basics”!

Are we “rookies” with regard to our understanding of the basics of God’s word? It’s okay—don’t be intimidated! Everyone has worn the “spiritual rookie” uniform somewhere in their past. We must now submit ourselves fully to the training program that is being taught by God, the ultimate “veteran.” Listen to Him, and allow Him to coach us, that we too may celebrate a personal spiritual victory!

Where do we begin? We have to know what sin is as defined in God’s word. How do we not sin if we don’t know what God has identified as sin? We’re aware that we shouldn’t violate the Ten Commandments, as conveyed to Moses by God in Exodus 20. Are we also aware that it says in James 4:17 that if we know the good we ought to do and don’t do it that we are sinning? We know that murder is a sin. Are we aware that unforgiveness—while not specifically covered as one of the Ten Commandments—is also sin? Jesus speaks particularly on forgiveness. We haven’t spoken to a brother in 10 years because he possesses that family heirloom that he knew we always wanted. We haven’t spoken to our son since he left home at 18 years of age because his plan for his future was not our plan and hostility and unforgiveness resulted. We know from Matthew 6:14 that we are to forgive so that our heavenly Father may also forgive us but the personal pride that is burning within us is overriding God’s commandment to forgive. Do we know the good we ought to do? Do we do it? If not, we sin. By not forgiving our brothers, we error and commit a foul in God’s eyes, endangering God’s promise to forgive us our sins, there-by penalizing our future personal relationship with Him.

James 1:22-25 states, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves, do what it says and we will be blessed.” We’re halfway home when we know God’s Word. We can expect God’s total blessings when we know AND do what it says!

Our relationship with God is utmost. There’s nothing more important in our lifetime than our personal relationship with Him. This is the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the NBA Championship rolled into one. Are we fully prepared? Have we removed the errors, penalties and fouls from our game with Him? We’ve heard the acronym for the word Bible; Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. Let’s know God’s basics! Let’s excel at His basics!

Secure your heavenly position, your eternity depends on it. We’re playing in the game of our life and the clock is winding down! Please, DON’T DROP THE BALL!  —submitted by Scott Phillips, US