Don’t be a Ball Hog

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024

Sometimes God gives us visions as a way to encourage us and stir up our faith. Other times He gives us visions that encourage us in a different way. It’s more of a, “This is an analogy of what you are doing, let’s see if we can tweak a few things to get you back on the path to victory.” This weekend, God gave me one of the latter.

In the vision, I was holding onto a basketball. Whenever I went to shoot the ball, the hoop kept falling over. Then it would stand up again and I would get ready to shoot, and then it would fall over again. It left me quite discouraged. I played basketball back in the day and 3-point shooting was my passion. Thankfully, I never had to even consider the fact that the hoop might move when I was shooting the ball.

So, what is God telling me? Well, two things. First, I’m holding onto some things that I need to let go of. In this instance, these things are hopes, dreams and promises. One of these promises is to be completely free of fear. I know I cannot live in a bubble away from fear, but I know the Word of God says that perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) and that God has not given me a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). I also know that God gives us the authority to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Shooting the basketball in my case is like taking thoughts captive. I have to do my part of the promise if I want to make a basket in my “fear-free” life.

The second thing I hear in this vision is that even if we can’t see the hoop or the goal in our dreams and desires, when God says it’s time to shoot the ball, we have to trust Him and let it fly. Too many times we are not obedient because it doesn’t seem possible to us that we can make a basket. We forget that God is in control of the basketball, the hoop, the backboard and the pole that holds the backboard. The only part that we have control over is releasing the ball from our hands.

Let’s look at a few scriptures. Proverbs 16:9 says:

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Philippians 1:6 says:

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

It’s time for us to live knowing full well that the best path for us to walk is the one where God directs our steps. Yes, it may not always make sense to us, and it may not always be the easiest, but God is not a man that he should lie, hurt us or leave us. And whatever work He has begun in us He will not leave half-finished. I’m not even sure I could ever add up all the projects around my house that are half-finished. Thankfully this is another area where God far-exceeds us. What He starts, he finishes, always and without fail.

One more scripture. Matthew 10:39 (NLT) says:

39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

What if I think about the basketball in the vision as my life? Am I clinging onto it thinking that I can direct it better or somehow help myself live longer by clinging onto it? This is another one of those areas where the Bible is so counter-cultural. God asks us to give up our life for Him, knowing that when we do, we will find our best life yet.

Final Thoughts…

This is one of those blogs that I struggle to write. It’s hard for me to make a public statement about how we should live, when I know full well it’s not always the path I choose. Perhaps this is how David felt in the scriptures when he would speak to his soul and encourage himself in the Lord. He was one of the strongest men in the Bible, but he was also one of the most vulnerable. He wasn’t afraid to tell God his struggles and what he needed from Him. God didn’t put David’s struggles into the Bible on accident. God already knows our weaknesses. He wants us to be honest with ourselves in our weakness and recognize that this is when we need God the most. Heavenly Father, be our strength when we are weak. Help us to release the basketball when you say it’s time and trust that you know the best way to get it into the hoop.