As we eagerly anticipate the long overdue start of the NFL season this weekend, I am reminded of perhaps the funniest comedic routine I’ve ever heard. It is an old recording performed by the late Andy Griffith as he is describing in great detail the first time he ever witnessed a football game. If you haven’t heard it and need a laugh, google it and prepare to bust a gut. The game was being played in a cow pasture. His final observation was that the object of the game must be to run with the little pigskin from one end of the pasture to the other without being attacked or “a steppin’ in sumthin'”.
I can completely relate to this. My dad grew up in the small town of Quitman, Mississippi. He was raised on a massive farm with acreage, ponds and cow pastures. Directly across the road from the house was the larger pasture. As kids we visited his childhood home at least twice a year. Since we all loved football, and since the closest spot of grass was the pasture across the road, we would eventually end up over there playing football. As you might imagine there were cow mines all over and it was very difficult to concentrate on running or catching a pass and being aware of where you were stepping. You just couldn’t avoid “a steppin’ in sumthin”.
Some of us in the faith live our Christian lives like playing football in a cow pasture full of opportunities for us to step in it. We feel we have stronger resolves than we actually do. We think we aren’t subject to temptations and distractions like those other people. We wear our faith like a coat of teflon thinking evil influences or suspect environments won’t stick to us. Maybe in our alone time we get on the computer and scan videos dangerously linked to porn sites. Or maybe we have that one drink knowing we are subject to over indulgence. Maybe it’s leaving after your third heaping plate at the harmless all-you-can-eat-buffet. It might be that innocent conversation on social media with someone you would never want your spouse to know about. It could even be as innocent as the destructive lyrics to your favorite secular music. All these examples represent cow patties, fresh, hot and smelly, right in the area where you are playing and usually unavoidable. It’s just a matter of time before the foul scent of your misstep announces to the world your arrival and your most recent activities. Scripture reads “be sure and know that your sins will eventually reveal your character” , my interpretation. Like Taco Bell, you can’t easily rid yourself of the stench of fresh cow dung-trust me on this.
We live in a world that smells foul and we travel a road surrounded by pastures. We can see and smell the eminent snares from our path without veering off into the actual pastures where we will surely be soiled by corruption and temptation greater than we can handle or escape. Thankfully God left for us instructions on avoiding these dung hills in His Word;
“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Romans 13:14)
“Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Tim 2:22)
As the Day of our Lord approaches the intensity of warfare against the saints will increase exponentially and the battles will become more numerous. We have to take seriously ever threat, every opportunity, every snare that lands in our path and overcome them by a daily renewal of our minds and a regular diet of scripture so our spiritual immune systems are constantly being nourished for battle. It all starts and ends in the mind.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Phil. 4:8, Message Bible
Enjoy your football season, just watch out for the land mines in your path. Go Colts!