Church softball season just ended. Middle-aged men (and older) oiled their gloves – and their knees - to get ready to play. Dutiful wives in the bleachers heard the crack of the bat - and the crack of his back - as hubby swung for the fence and dribbled the ball back to the pitcher, who, of course, couldn’t bend over to pick it up. Standing on first, hubby actually convinced himself that her smile is admiration instead of a stifled laugh.
Sometimes, one team won’t have enough players to field a team and will be forced to forfeit the game. That’s the official game. But everybody present wants to play, so the other team shares a couple of players, and the game is on.
Only, it doesn’t count. One team has already been declared the winner. They’re playing now just for fun. And it’s a different game as a result.
Because they’ve already won, there is no pressure on the players. If a guy makes an error (OK, not “if” but “when”), it’s no big deal. Doesn’t matter. The game is already in the bag. Not only does the guy not get upset with himself, nobody else does either. In fact, there is much more good-natured teasing when the game has already been decided.
In some ways, living the Christian life should be like playing a game in which the other team has already forfeited. Long ago, Jesus already won the game for those on his team. That’s why the apostle Paul could make this a rhetorical question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Paul is emphatic that nobody and nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (39). In fact, Christians aren’t just winners, but even “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (37).
We should live like that – like players who’ve already won the game. Oh, make no mistake about it, that doesn’t mean that we let up or goof off. Those guys in the unofficial game still play hard. They may even play harder - take more risks, try hitting to the opposite field, or go for an extra base. It’s easier to be daring when you can’t lose.
God’s side has already won. If that’s the team you’re on, live like a winner and enjoy the game!