Your True Colors

Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning of life but as those who do. Ephesians 5:15, Phillips

SOME SPORTS TEAMS’ emblems or logos make sense. For example, the symbol for the New York Yankees is Uncle Sam’s top hat on the end of a baseball bat. The Chicago Bulls’ mascot is a red bull. The Dallas Cowboys have a lone star (Texas is the Lone Star State) on their helmets.

Other team traditions seem strange, to say the least. Penn State University’s colors are blue and white, but Nitanny Lions-their teams’ names-are neither blue nor white. The Detroit Red Wings? Their emblem is a red automobile tire with wings. And what does a Los Angeles Dodger dodge?

And, of course, some teams have strange mascots. You’ll find everything from a gorilla in Utah (the only one not in a zoo) to a fish in Florida to a creature known as a “Phanatic” in Philadelphia.

But the most interesting thing about many sports teams is not their names, emblems, or mascots, but their fans. They wear hats, wigs, and jerseys. They carry towels and Styrofoam hands with upraised index fingers indicating, “We’re number one.” (How many “Number Ones” can there be?) They paint their faces and their bodies. They wave team pennants. They wear team pins. They sing team songs. They are clearly identified with the team they cheer for, the team they follow closely.

How closely are you identified with God? How do people know you love and serve him? After all, he doesn’t have “team colors” or a team mascot. Oh, you might wear a T-shirt. You may listen to Christian music. You might even carry this book around. (Buy a hundred copies for your friends!)

Those things are OK, but they’re not the main way God wants us to identify with him. He wants us to show we worship him, not by waving pennants or painting our faces, but by the way we live. He wants our behavior to show that we worship him.

That’s why self-control is important to God. When we exercise self-control instead of getting angry, we admit that some things are more important than our petty resentments. When we exercise self-control instead of using profanity, we show that we submit to an authority that’s higher than ourselves. When we exercise self-control instead of using drugs or drinking alcohol or pursuing sexual immorality, we show that we worship God, not our own desires.

That doesn’t mean a Christian T-shirt isn’t OK; it just means that the person inside the T-shirt is what really matters to God.

REFLECT: How closely are you identified with God? How do people know you love and serve him? Do you show, by your self-control, that you’re on his team?

PRAY: “God, let me show I worship you by demonstrating self-control, especially in __________.”