Tom Landry, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, once commented on the “walk-ons” who showed up each spring to try out for the team. Talent, he observed, was in abundance. Intense passion and desire were not. And passionate desire is what God longs for in us who would seek to know Him, “Devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God… ” (1 Chronicles 22:19a)
In our striving to grow spiritually, Peter tells us to, “make every effort… ” “[Apply] all diligence… ” “Work hard… ” (2 Peter 1:5a – niv, nasb, Living). That is, we are to make constant moral and spiritual progress similar to an army that is steadfastly marching toward its objective: Determined. Progressing. Undaunted.
Thus, “the Christian life must not be an animated spasm, followed by a chronic inertia.” (Moffat) Rather, we are to be resolute in our intention of reaching spiritual maturity.
In our quest, it would help us to keep in mind the fact that “faith is not only a commitment to the promises of God, but also to the demands of Christ.” (William Barclay)
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of leading a 50 year old businessman to Christ. Talk about a man with a passionate desire to know God! The guy attacked the issue of spiritual growth with the ardor of a Roman “gladiator”!
- Immediately he started studying and memorizing the Scriptures, devouring Christian books, downloading Christian material each morning off the Net, etc., etc.
- Soon he initiated a Bible study with his old college drinking buddies, keen that they too would know the Savior.
By way of contrast, I recently attempted to help a man who had supposedly recommitted his life to Christ after squandering millions of dollars on women and gambling. Late for the appointment, he declined my offer for assistance, lamely explaining that he just could not get over his habit of chasing women. Sidelined for his lack of passion to follow Jesus, the Christian life for him will probably remain a “spectator” experience.
QUESTION: So tell me, do you have the heart of a gladiator or a spectator? Are you passionately pursuing God? Or are you like most of the guys showing up for the Cowboys’ tryouts: Talented, but mediocre in spirit. For talented, but dispassionate walk-ons, participating at the “gladiator” level will remain an unfulfilled dream as they join the ranks of faceless spectators.