October 14, 2022
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Our sons were - and are - crazy about baseball, and then followed the grandsons. They know the players, the standings, the stats. Did I mention they're crazy about baseball? Yeah, it's true; it runs in the family. But dark clouds again rolled in over America's baseball stadiums, because, well, there were suddenly more reports that some stars, who are a lot of kids' heroes, cheated to be great. You remember all that.
PED? No, that's not the initials for some new government program. I guess it's a performance-enhancing steroid against the rules of baseball to have in your system. But it's all about winning, right? In professional sports, the bucks are big, the pressure is big, the temptations are big.
But no one's bigger than the rules. Breaking them might help you win the game, but at a pretty high price. You trade your priceless character for some cheap victories. Your accomplishments aren't really you - they're you plus the drugs. What could have been the Hall of Fame can be overshadowed by the Hall of Shame.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Goal or Your Soul."
Before we put on our black robe to judge some baseball players, maybe we should look in the mirror. See, I'm a very goal-oriented person. I know if you've got a goal, somewhere you're going to be tempted to compromise to get there, because we're all susceptible to that "win, no matter what" drumbeat of our culture. We all want to win in business. We want to have "super kids" so we'll be "super-parents." We want to get the girl, we want to land the guy. Whatever our arena, we're driven to come out on top, no matter what the cost to our family, our integrity, our health, our future. If "winning" means backstabbing, stepping on people, neglecting people, breaking promises, lying, betraying - hey, it's all about winning, right? It's all about getting to our big goal, right?
No, it's all about your soul; your character, who you are, not what you accomplish. It's about giving the game your very best, but without regrets, without compromises, without betraying trust or leaving a trail of tears. After all, who can afford the most costly trade there is: gaining the world in exchange for your soul?
That's why integrity's so important. The Bible says, "The integrity of the upright guides them." See, your integrity's like a missile's internal guidance system. It guarantees that you stay on course and reach your target. So even if I "lose," I really win. My soul was not on sale to get to my goal. That integrity Bible verse concludes by saying, "but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity." Whatever I might gain by compromising, I have so much more to lose.
I've had some disturbingly sad conversations with folks who were nearing the end of their life; people trying to come to terms with some haunting regrets about what - or who - they sacrificed in order to succeed. Sadly, there are no "do-overs." But I'll tell you this: I am profoundly grateful there is forgiveness. In our word for today from the Word of God, Psalm 130:3, a man who had terribly failed his God, his family, his followers wrote: "If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness."
Listen, it's not cheap to have every sin of your past erased from God's book. It takes blood, but not mine, not yours. In God's words, "The blood of Jesus His Son purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). All sin! However hurtful; covered by the payment that was made for it when Jesus hung on a cross dying for it.
I invite you, if you've never had that cleaning take place; that internal cleansing; the forgiving of God for every wrong thing you've ever done, let this be the day you come to Jesus who died so that could happen and give you to Him. Let me encourage you to go to our website. I'd love to show you exactly how to begin that relationship with Him there. Go to ANewStory.com.
And once you've embraced Him as the Forgiver of your sin, He gives you the grace to retrace your regrets to work to restore what - or who - you've hurt. Because you know what Jesus said, "I make all things new (Revelation 21:5)."