In 1983, I kind of had an experience where I had to ask myself, “What are you doing here?” When we are young, we pretty much think we are invincible and can take on the world. Where I grew up in Knoxville, TN., there is a big festival each year held each April called The Dogwood Arts Festival. It lasts for about two weeks and they have food, crafts, a huge national track meet at the University of Tennessee, top notch concerts, dogwood trail tours and an amateur tennis tournament. It just so happens that I was quite the tennis player back in my early days and played almost every day. I had never entered a tournament before, so I was really unsure which class to enter. I definitely knew that I was not an “A” class player and I thought I could probably play with some “B” class players. But, if I was going to have a chance to be the champion I needed to play with the weenies of the tennis world in the “C” class. At my first match I was pumped, I was going up against a guy who was probably 55 and didn’t look too athletic. Plus, I was using a Bjorn Borg Donnay tennis racquet. Success was in my grip! Some of you see where this going, right?
Not only was my opponent athletic, but he was a “B” player trying to win a trophy in the “C” class and I happened to be in his way. Come to find out the guy’s whole family was like tennis crazy and they all played in the tournament . Needless to say I went down and it wasn’t pretty. To state the obvious, I vastly overrated my tennis abilities. This older guy made me face tennis reality, I wasn’t as good as what I thought.
Athletics isn’t the only arena in life where people tend to overrate themselves. I want to lay this out in front of you pretty clear up front. I think most people overrate how good they are in the eyes of a holy God. I think most people walk around firmly convinced that they’re capable of competing at the “A” level of morality in God’s sight, certainly at the “B” level. No one wants or will admit to being at the “C” level of morality in God’s eyes.
A lot of people think they’re not good enough to be a Christian. None of us are. You don’t have to get your act together first. You come to God just like you are and He begins the change process. The promise is in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” This old life is gone. The old life is referring to life without relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s our old spiritual nature.
Some of you are thinking, “That might sound nice for you because you don’t have much changing to do but you don’t know about me. You don’t know about my past and what’s going on.” You’re right I don’t. And I don’t understand. But I do know me and I do know what the Bible says and I do know the experience I’ve had in my life and seen in the life of others. There are some things in my life, my struggles, that I thought I would live with these forever. There’s no way it’s going to change. Yet God has transformed those. He’s changed my character. I haven’t arrived. I’m not there. But I can see what He does.
Let God be God. Resign as general manager of the universe and you’ll be a whole lot more relaxed. The world does not depend on you or me. God is God and you’re not! As long as you try to be God, you’ll be filled with fear. You’ll be filled with worry. You can’t handle it all yourself. Worry is a warning light that says two things.
One, it says, something has become too important to me, so I’m worrying about it. It’s more important than it should be. It’s taking first place in my life.
Two, it means I’m trying to solve it. I’m trying to play God. I’m trying to control the issue. Both of those don’t work.