Did you watch the Oklahoma-Cincinnati college football game tonight? Well if you didn’t see it, I’ll fill you in: With less than five minutes on the clock, the score was 24-22 Oklahoma. They punted and the Cincinnati punt returner was poised, however it slipped through his hands. He tried to fall on it, but long story short–he fumbled the ball and Oklahoma got it back. They turned it into a touchdown. Final score: 31-29 with Oklahoma having the victory.
The punt returner’s name is D.J. Woods. I must say, there is something simply unbearable about watching a 20-year old student cry on a sideline because he dropped a football. I’m telling you–he was inconsolable. I couldn’t help but feel horrible for the kid. Can you connect with him? His feelings of failure? His embarrassment? His disappointment? The pressure? The stress?
D.J.’s situation broke my heart–not because his team lost and he took the weight of it onto his shoulders–but because his identity is seemingly found in a pigskin. His immediate world came crashing down because of his performance. Now, I’m not saying that any display of disappointment reveals spiritual unhealth, believe me–I understand disappointment due to failure. But there was something different about poor D.J. tonight. You may think that I’m throwing this out of proportion, but think about it–what would have happened if he had caught it cleanly, and ran it 90 yards for a touchdown? He would have been the “one who won the game” instead of the opposite. So, whether positively or negatively, this young man’s identity comes down to his performance on 100 yards of turf. His security will be threatened every Saturday this fall. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don’t hear any judgment of D.J. I am expressing sincere and genuine care for this young man’s heart.
Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
The word trust in the Hebrew means “to boast, remember, recall, bring to mind, remind, record, make a memorial.” The Hebrew word for name means “name, reputation, fame, glory, renown.” Track with me here. As believers, we have security, when we remind ourselves of the glory of God, and don’t depend on our own. We have freedom to fail in our endeavors, when we start to remember that everything is for Jesus’ fame and not ours. We find identity in Christ, when we boast in His reputation and aren’t so concerned with our own. When we remember that we have complete acceptance and approval through Jesus’ glory on the cross, we can stop striving after it from people. When our habit becomes making a memorial to Jesus’ renown, then the pressure to make our own memorial dissipates. When we learn to remind others of the LORD’s name, the need for them to remember ours will lessen. When we can begin to remember that it was the LORD who gave us success, our pride will not be fed with glory from our accomplishments. When we can remember the perfect relationship Jesus offers, we can stop relying on people to determine our value. When we remind ourselves daily of Jesus’ reputation to love us unconditionally and perfectly, we need not find satisfaction in any other thing.
In what is your identity found? On what do you base your security? Where do you find complete satisfaction? If you fail at your job, schoolwork, sport, relationship, ministry, talent, or whatever else, would your security and identity be threatened? Does your happiness, satisfaction, joy, peace, and security come from success at that same thing? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your “chariots” and “horses.” Then saturate yourself in the Scriptures to discover the “name, glory, fame, reputation, and renown” of your Savior.
Please pray for D.J. His world is shaken. I pray that he would find satisfaction, peace, security, and identity in Someone who is all-sufficient.