It’s tough to not start the day talking about the Super Bowl. Whether you watched it or not, it’s likely something you’re aware of and what happened. The game was everything *experts* thought it wouldn’t be, right down to the last drive of the game. But it wasn’t necessarily that way in the first half. The Eagles jumped out to an early lead and just kept building on it right up to halftime. The second half however was different for the Patriots, when you have a head coach like Bill Belichick you figure it will be. As in years past, especially so last year, he used halftime to make significant second-half adjustments. The result was the Patriots coming out of the first half to outscore the Eagles until the precious last few minutes of the game. Those changes, those alterations gave New England what looked like a clear path to win back-to-back titles. Spoiler alert… It didn’t happen.
The commentators kept on focusing on Tom Brady, and his greatness to lead a comeback. *How much time does he need to win the game?* and *the game rests on his shoulders.* With just over 2 minutes left, it looked like it would be another one of *those* games but then a funny thing happened. Brady held the ball a little longer than usual, had the ball stripped and it ultimately led to the Eagles winning. So despite the second half adjustments, one man tried to take over, to put the success of his whole team on his shoulders and it didn’t work out.
I’m just past that halftime. I’ve had to make, and continue to make those critical adjustments to come out and play the second-half like I have everything in the world to gain (and lose). But I can’t rest on my own foolish ambitions. My own selfishness leads me further away from God, family and community. My own will has the ability to lose me everything that means anything to me. But if I can lean on God, and trust in Him the second half can be truly remarkable.
Matthew 16: 24-25 (ERV) *Then Jesus said to his followers, “If any of you want to be my follower, you must stop thinking about yourself and what you want.*
Surrender, surrender, surrender.
Surrender, surrender, surrender.
James 4:7 *Submit yourselves, then, to God.*
God has sewn into each of us extraordinary talents, gifts and abilities; to excel in the work we do, to flourish in our families, to love others, to show mercy and do great things in the world around us.
He also gave us free-will. The type of free-will that leads us to eat fruit from the one and only tree He told us not to. The type of free-will that can lead to so hardened a heart that we take our inheritance, run off and squander it. It’s also the free-will that allows us to put our trust in Him despite our own self-doubt and part the Red Sea.
You need only be still. The Lord will fight for you. How powerful and simple is that?
I also recognize the difficulty in simplicity, I struggle with that at times. My faith isn’t perfect, it’s a constant process of making adjustments. Learning from my mistakes, but also growing in the ways God helps me succeed. Building up who I am on top of a foundation of who I’ve been, if I can turn my life and care over to a loving Father. The greatest things are possible when I surrender my own will, my own self-serving interests and my own beliefs that I can do anything on my own. I’ve seen the ruinous impact of putting it all on my shoulders first-hand. I’ve seen what my selfish ambitions can lead to and I’ll answer for them. I can’t outrun judgement for some parts of the first 2 quarters, but I can plan for success in the second half by making the necessary adjustments. I won’t come out of halftime thinking it’s up to me. I’m coming into the second half with an understanding and confidence that it’s not up to me. Whatever happens I’m in the loving arms of a father who cherishes me. A God who has forgiven me, and wants good things for me. The Father who has always been with me, through darkness and willfulness. He’ll be there not on the sidelines, but with me calling plays all the days of my life and beyond.
If only I can surrender, and continue to do so.
John 3: 30 *He must become greater; I must become less.*