“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, His word dwell in you richly.”-Colossians 3:15,16.
We are in the golden months of sports. The World series concluded back in October, college football is in bowl season, college basketball conference play starts in January, the Dallas Cowboys are NFC East champs (again!) and college baseball kicks off in February.
In almost any level of sports, what makes the game start and stop is the referee.
As a former coach, I had great relationships with many of them, yet some of them also made me mad. The calls they would sometimes make would fire me up or send me into an emotional frenzy. The same would be true if I was watching a sport.
While I have gotten better at a refs call not throwing a hammer at my day, I have a feeling that Christians who don’t know about sports can relate to what I am saying. Why?
In the book of Colossians, most commentators agree that this was Paul’s letter.
He writes the church in Colossae specific virtues that they need to follow to grow as Christians.
Upon reading the text again, I was surprised (but not really given Paul’s sports background), that the word for “rule” is the same word used to describe a referee. It is little wonder then that when God makes a call on our life through Christ and His Word, His church, people, His Holy Spirit, etc., Christians respond very much like sports fans do to sports refs. Sometimes, a call God makes, fires us up for Him and for life, others send us into a tailspin and we must fight through the adversity that life throws at us.
For example, no Christian I know of ascribes evil acts to God, just like referees don’t throw strikes, or hold a defensive back, or cause a foul. However, when referees tell a player what happened for them to call a foul, or God through His grace tells us that we are either doing great, or need to fix something in our life, it’s a whole new ball game when we respond negatively or positively to Christ’s “refereeing.”
Thankfully, Paul gives us a play to use with Christ as a referee. “May His word dwell in you richly.” Dwellings in the ancient world were tents and sun-dried bricks built around them. Paul’s solution to Christ’s refereeing is clear, stay in His word. Athletes in any level aren’t going to complain about a call from a ref if they know they messed up. Some of the greatest names in Christian history aren’t great because of what they did, they are great because they learned from the calls God made in their life and got better from them.
That’s the peace of Christ “refereeing” (ruling) in hearts! This Christmas, may Christ’s Word dwell in you in a way that allows you to grow and learn and be the sons and daughters of God that you are. Merry Christmas!
John Thomas is a Local Pastor at Carroll Springs United Methodist Church,