Go For a Full Court Press

Get your full-court press on. Don’t give your opponent time to gain any forward motion.

I used to love a game of basketball. I was actually school captain. I remember that no team we faced would ever play full-court press all the time. It would be far too exhausting, although it has been proved that it is a worthwhile tactic for teams of lesser skill and ability in overcoming those who are the better basketball team. [*Malcom Gladwell ‘David & Goliath]

In life, we need to get our full-court press on. Don’t let our guard down.

Jesus tells us that the pure in heart are blessed, they will see God [Matthew 5:8]. We have been made perfect through Christ, for which I am thankful. Not of my own efforts, it is the incredible gift from God. Now comes my response – don’t allow the enemy [the opposition] in. Get my guard up. Full court-press. Don’t give him any space, no way through.

To be pure hearted means to remain unpolluted and undefiled. It is about staying ‘unmuddied’. What a great word. Unmuddied means to keep clear of sediment. The small stuff, the rubbish, the sand and grit that gathers under the surface which, for instance, eventually causes a river to break its bank when it becomes overwhelmed. I think that’s a great picture of our heart. All those little bits that get in there, those impurities, things that eventually have an influence on what comes out of our heart.

Simple response then. Guard your heart.

A full-court press demands greater fitness, greater energy levels, a greater sense of awareness. It’s a team play that requires each person on the team to fulfil that role to the best of their ability, then the opposition cannot break down the defence. The same is true for you and me. When we become stronger, fitter, more aware, then we are better able to keep our guard up. When we have the right people around us, like-minded individuals with the same sense of determination, then we are better able to keep our guard up.

The enemy is on the prowl, looking for who he can devour. He wants to kill, steal and destroy. Don’t give him any space and he can’t do that in your life. Too many times we here about the failing of someone. Staying pure in heart is not easy. There’s a lot of stuff clamouring for our hearts attention. Maybe it’s time for a dredge, a clean up, a bit of purification to be done. If you recognise some ‘muddiness’ in your heart then get it sorted. Be determined to not allow anything in that shouldn’t be there. Go for a full-court press. Set the boundary lines. Get the guard in place and don’t let it drop. With the help of the Holy Spirit – we can do this!

Satisfaction

What satisfies my soul will make me truly happy?

External stuff is good for a time but doesn’t last. A good shopping trip, a nice bottle of wine, a promotion at work or whatever it is for us, can make us feel happy but probably only until next time. I might feel happy and feel satisfied especially if I don’t realise that there is an alternative.

But there is.

True happiness, a satisfied soul, is about more than what stuff I have or don’t have. Maybe it’s more about how I position my internal riches, how I see myself in relation to God. That I choose to hunger and thirst for right standing with God rather than the latest gadget or financial gain. Which begs the question – why do I sometimes still try and satisfy my soul with external stuff, continue to make do with ‘things’ that will only fall short?

My answer is that I don’t know why. However, I do know that God wants me to be truly happy and blessed. To be filled with the fullness of God, to receive the blessings that come from being ‘spiritually desperate’, from having an eye for Jesus, being repentant, from living a life of meekness, and always maintaining a hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Perhaps this is just me but this is the Jesus lifestyle I am called to live. I know it’s not easy but it’s definitely worth it.

Blessed

I read the Amplified Bible translation of Matthew 5:3 and saw that it describes BLESSED like this ~ to be happy, to be envied, to be spiritually prosperous, those who experience God’s favour and the revelation of His matchless grace.

We all want to be BLESSED. Well I know I do. I just need to make sure it’s the right kind of blessed. It’s just a thought. After all maybe when I speak of being blessed, if I’m honest I often mean materially blessed. Nothing wrong with that, God wants the best for me. Just as I do for my kids.

Hope you saw the difference though. It is subtle but it’s definitely there.

Blessed doesn’t necessarily mean materially prosperous.

Blessed from the perspective of Jesus is about being spiritually prosperous, it’s about experiencing the favour of God on my life. Now that changes my focus, it changes my prayer and it’s definitely changing what I hunger & thirst for’. How about you?

Matthew 5: Living the Right Kind of Life!

These next 3 chapters of Matthew are some of my favourites in the whole Bible. The Sermon on the Mount sees Jesus take what is known and established, and shift it with just a subtle change. Christian or not, you cannot read these verses and NOT see clearly how Jesus desires that we should live, how we are to be, how our interactions with others should be different.

Things that struck me… (please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below)

You know what, Jesus messes with the norm BIG time. We deem blessing to be when we receive something we want. He states that we are ‘blessed’ when we are poor in spirit, when we mourn, when we have the right kind of hunger & thirst, when we show mercy, when we act as peacemakers, when we are persecuted, insulted and spoken against. It’s the topsy-turvy way of the Gospel that turns life the right-side up! I need to keep my perspective on life that way too.

If we can live blessed in states of downturn, no wonder we can then be salt and light to the world around us. Our different attitude to life will bring a new flavour, it will cause us to shine. I don’t want to be ‘good for nothing’. Salt penetrates. Salt purifies. Salt preserves. Salt makes something bland more appetising. I hope I can remain salty.

It’s incredible to think about how people must have reacted to this stuff. Jesus took the law and instead of ignoring it and establishing a new code which some hoped for, he took everything that little bit further. He had come to fulfil the law not abolish it. He hones in on everything…

…murder is not just about killing anymore but how you speak to people
…adultery is not just about sex out side of marriage but how you look at someone
…an oath is fickle whatever it is made against, just say yes or say no and mean it
…an eye for an eye may be deserved but turn away from it, in fact give even more
…love is not just for those who love you, that’s easy but it’s also for your enemies

This Christian life is quite challenging at times. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously not one or maybe needs to check themselves against this new level of living that Jesus puts out there, am I becoming more like he wants me to become, especially as he finishes by saying ‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’. Or as the Message version puts it ‘Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it…’

What’s your point of view on all that?

My previous posts as we travel through Matthew are here & here