Sports are a big deal. My entire life, sports have been woven throughout my journey. Whether playing little league, varsity football or throwing shot put in college, I have always been involved in sports. I married a wonderful woman who is just as passionate about sports, and together we celebrate and commiserate with the ebb and flow that all sports bring.
It has always fascinated me though how “fanatic” fans can be. I love when the camera pans a football stadium, and one can see the crazy outfits people wear in support of their team. I have to admit that even I sometimes walk that edge of crazy when I put on my Seahawks jersey and root for my favorite team.
When people put on their favorite team’s jersey or a have a bumper sticker that announces their loyalty, they are saying, “I am a (insert your favorite team) fan.” or “My loyalty and commitment in the sporting world aligns here!” Whether they are wearing fake blocks of cheese on their heads or old worn out Yankee jerseys, you automatically know what team they love.
In Romans 13:8-10, Paul makes a very interesting claim:
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Notice that he says “and whatever commandment there may be.” Well, what other commandments could be summed up in loving your neighbor?
That is when I think of the command “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain.” How is that summed up in loving your neighbor? In that command, we often think not to curse or misuse verbally the name of God. That is certainly true, but the command goes much deeper than that. The Lord is commanding us “not take upon his name” if we are going to misuse it. He is telling us, “DO NOT call yourself belonging to ME if you are going to drag MY name through the mud.”
In alignment with the sports analogy, do not put on the jersey if you are going to misrepresent the Lord. We misuse His name when we mistreat our brother. Paul is telling us that we best fulfill our love for God by loving others. We wear the name of the Lord well when we love those around us. So, think about it. When you put on the name of the Lord, are you representing HIS TEAM and HIS NAME well?
By Brandon Guindon, Senior Pastor
Real Life Ministries Texas