Treasures in jars of clay–and some sick nasty ball & stick skills

Having lunch at my favorite local eatery last week, I caught this clip, among others, as Sports Center was being broadcast on the big screen behind the bar:

Watching LeBron drain sick shots from all over the court really got me thinking about what I think is a part of Christian life that is often missed:

What would it look like if we all lived our lives with the same kind of confidence that LeBron James plays basketball?

Interestingly, my viewing of LeBron’s mad hoops skills happened to intersect with a look into 2 Corinthians in our Disciple class last week. And I was struck by that notion of how God would love for all of us to live with that kind of confidence. In Him. In the gifts and talents he blesses us with. In the Holy Spirit’s work in us. In our ability to carry out the callings he places on us.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

I love how Paul lays that out…pressed but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned….What he’s talking about, really, is confidence. Trust. The ability to rely on something in us that is very real. As real as the skills LeBron brings to the court, Tiger Woods brings to the links, or Sidney Crosby brings to the ice. The ability to rise up to another level because we KNOW we can do it. The other night I was watching the Penguins take the Carolina Hurricanes to school in game 2 of their playoff series. And Evgeni Malkin pulls off one of the nastiest shots I’ve ever seen, going backhand over his off-hand shoulder to smoke Cam Ward like a bad cigar. And everyone in the arena looked stunned. Except Malkin.

So what would it look like for us to live with that kind of confidence? If athletes can play their games that way, how much more can we live our lives in the vast power and creativity of God’s dreams for us?

I like the challenge Paul lays down as he closes this passage:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

I’ve decided to let this notion of confidence steer me for awhile and see where it leads. To ask myself this question every day:

What is keeping me from living in the full confidence I receive from the God who created me?

How about you?

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