Crowded stadium, people sitting on benches or chairs. The hard core (or wealthier) fans sitting in air conditioned box seats with personal waiters. Food and drink vendors walking the isles. The walks leading to the stadium are covered with tents with games, TVs, cookers, friends, and laughter, the smell of food in the air. Athletes, coaches, cheerleaders, and the band on the field. Front and center. The crowd cheering when their team scores. Silent when there is an injury, then more cheers when the player gets to his feet. Intense moments when players get kicked out of the game for unsportsman like conduct.
Typical scene of a college football game.
I’ve been asking my husband to take me to a college football game for about 8 years now. We went to one this weekend. Terrible game, but while I was sitting in the crowd and looked out over the thousands of people filling the stadium, I was reminded of my favorite book series. And reminded of the stadiums and arenas of a different time.
Crowded arenas full of people thirsty for bloody entertainment. The wealthy sitting in box seats with their slaves fanning them to keep them cool. Sex slaves available whenever they’re wanted. The people in the crowd of the stadium getting drunk and desperate to watch the entertainment soon to commence on the field. On the walks to the stadium may be parks with people openly engaging in sexual activities. Homosexual men forcing their 12 year old boy sex slaves to do whatever they want. People beating their slaves, sometimes even to death. In the arena, instead of the crowd cheering for the injured player pulling himself up, they are roaring as they witness a lion ripping apart the body of a 16 year old Christian girl. Instead of gladiators getting kicked out of the game for unsportsman like conduct, hatred is applauded. Death is desired. Gladiators are paid in prostitutes and not scholarships.
In 2016, it’s easy to watch the news and feel like the world is crumbling. Like the economy is falling apart and the government is corrupt. It seems like now, having Christian values is frowned upon. Sexual immorality is everywhere, and easily accessed thanks to social media. Our news and media channels are full of negativity.
But I can’t help but think that this is just the way of the world. Since Eve ate the apple, worldly things have always been and always will be until the coming of Jesus. Maybe distraction is one of the methods Satan uses. It’s easy to lose focus. It’s easy to worry. It’s easy to be negative and maybe even afraid, but that is not the answer. The ONLY answer is to fix your eyes on him. I truly believe that is how the Christians of the early centuries went about living. They fixed their eyes on Jesus and embraced their hardships. Their focus wasn’t on things of this world, but on the heavenly things. They knew that this life is temporary and that there is more.
Our confidence shouldn’t be in governments, or money, or celebrities. Our confidence should be in Christ alone. We should hold our heads high because God has overcome. We know who wins.
So friends, I know right now that things seem unstable, but I want to encourage you to fix your eyes on him and not grow weary.
In a time when things seem crazy, remember this isn’t anything new. It’s not bigger than God. Satan will not win.
Where are you looking?
*If you are looking for an amazing book series that may change your perspective on both the world of this time, and the world when Paul wrote his letters, the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers is fantastic! I loved reading these books, and then re-reading the letters of Paul with a different view of the reason behind those letters.
1 Peter 5:7-10 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the raced marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
1 Peter 4:14, 16 “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you…However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”