Shine the Light of God as a Team
By Jeanne Gowen Dennis
How can we as followers of Jesus Christ shine the light of God in our dark culture more effectively? We’ve seen the brazen, unified stand sinners take for their “right” to sin. I believe it’s time for us to make a united stand for righteousness, to shine the light of God as a team, God’s team.
We’re on God’s Team
I believe spiritual team building needs to start in our homes and in our home churches.
- We must bond together as parents, grandparents, brothers, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, and church families.
- We need to develop a fierce loyalty to our Lord so that we will do everything necessary to give Him the glory He deserves. If sports teams can do it, we can do it all the more. We have the power of almighty God behind us (Eph. 1:19–21).
- We must know which side we’re on. The opposing team is the evil in the world, with the “father of lies” (John 8:44) as its coach. Our team is the body of Christ, and our coach is the Holy Spirit.
- We have to know the playbook. Our “playbook” is the Word of God in the Bible.
- We need to wear the team uniform, the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10–18).
- We must prepare for the challenges facing us, just as sports teams build their skills and endurance before facing opposing teams.
We Need Warm-ups
It’s important for us to spend time together, evaluating our strengths and weaknesses and encouraging one another to guard our strengths as we address our weaknesses. That means regular Bible study, prayer, confession and repentance, and corporate worship.
It means starting and ending our days with “warm-ups” individually, as couples, and as families.
- Read Scripture both alone and together.
- Discuss how the scripture passages apply to each individual.
- Ask questions to make sure children understand.
- Pray together.
- Encourage one another.
Form a Cheering Section
Form your own cheering section. Each of us will have to face challenges on our own, but we must never forget we’re never really alone.
- We have a whole team behind us to support us through every trail.
- We have the “great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on from heaven.
- We have the Creator of all life who promised never to leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:6).
We can have a great cheering section, but if we don’t know what to do, we’ll never win.
Know What to Do Ahead of Time
Before sports teams take the field, they have studied and practiced their plays so they can perform them instantaneously on command. We need to stay even more prepared than a sports team. We have to study our “playbook” so we know what to do and when.
God’s honor and people’s eternities are at stake in the battle we enter each day.
Review the “Playbook”
- Practice how to think biblically when under pressure. Discuss together scenarios when your faith might be challenged and decide how you will respond.
- Make sure you understand God’s plan of salvation (John 3:16 and others) so others might be saved. Honor Christ as holy and make sure you can explain with gentleness and respect the hope you have in Jesus (1 Pet. 3:15).
- Read the book of Jude. Realize that not all who claim Christ are truly on the team. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment and help you “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 20).
- Memorize Bible verses so you can answer any temptation in the way Jesus did, with the Word of God (Luke 4:1–13).
- Resolve in your heart that you will not sin against God (1 Pet. 4:1–2).
Prepare the offense:
- Remember the Word of God is our only offensive weapon against the onslaughts of the enemy (Eph. 6:17).
- Keep a holy fear of God. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness (1 Tim. 6:11).
- Determine that when teammates get discouraged or their lights begin to fade, you will encourage and build up one another, pointing to God and His Word (1 Thess. 5:14).
Prepare the defense:
- Don’t underestimate the other team. Remember the same devil who can appear as an angel of light comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (2 Cor. 11:14, John 10:10).
- The possibility of falling into sin should scare us enough to run for our lives. Review and take to heart the verses in the Bible that tell us how to deal with sin and temptation. Flee immorality, idolatry, the love of money, and youthful lusts (1 Cor. 6:18, 1 Cor. 10:14, 1 Tim. 6:10–11, 2 Tim. 2:22).
- Don’t forget sin makes us its slave as soon as we give in to it (John 8:34) and separates us from God (Is. 59:2). We can’t escape without God’s help. If you sin, turn back to Jesus and confess and repent immediately (1 John 1:8–9).
After all the preparation, if a player on a sports team loses his focus, all can be lost. The same applies to us.
Keep Your Focus
When we’re out in the world and not safely among other believers, it’s easy to lose our focus and be swept into unbiblical thinking and actions. None of us can wrestle with sin, temptations, and worldly values unprepared.
Both on and off the field of battle, we must keep our focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He is our strength, and His Holy Spirit will encourage us if we start to lose heart.
Also, we need to focus on the Word of God. The advances and taunts of the opposing team won’t psych us out when we know and believe the Bible. In the face of truth, the enemy’s lies lose their power to trip us up.
To help us keep our focus, we need to make ourselves accountable to God and our team.
Our actions affect everyone around us, whether we realize it or not. We are the body of Christ, and if any part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers. If one gains honor, so does the whole body (1 Cor. 12:26).
As believers, we are accountable to God and to one another, both corporately as the church of Jesus, and individually within families, friendships, businesses, etc. If you are parents, help your children understand this accountability.
Admit when you’ve made a mistake, acted unkindly, or said something hurtful. Ask forgiveness from both God and one another. Leave the fighting for the field of darkness so you can attack evil as a unified, loving unit.
Finally, we must remember that a team can’t win if the team members’ hearts are not in it.
Remember Your “Why”
Sports teams play to represent their cities, schools, countries, or other organizations. We represent the living God who loved the world so much He sent His son to die for us (John 3:16). When we get out on the field of the secular world, let’s remember that.
We belong to Jesus, and our enemy hates Him. The devil hates us because we love Jesus. He will do anything he can to make us dishonor our Lord. So in final preparation:
- Let’s determine never to bring Jesus shame. If we do fail, we need to confess and repent at once and start again.
- Let’s work together to shine the light of Christ by the way we live, talk, conduct business, treat others, fulfill our commitments, and in all other parts of our lives.
- Let’s pray unceasingly for God to protect His witness in us and to guide and direct us as we live to serve Him and others.
- Let’s lean into Jesus, into His strength, because we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5). But with Him we can do all things within His will (Phil. 4:13).
Now it’s time to go out with boldness to win each “game” in God’s strength. Are you with me?