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Coach Gess Gameday Devotion - Game 4 vs. Morgan County

Jonathan Gess

It’s Game Day!  Tonight Morgan County comes to us for a battle of the unbeatens.  They are 3-0 and we are 3-0.  We are both AAA schools and both trying to earn respect as top 10 programs in AAA.  It will be a great test and battle for us tonight.  We have worked hard…our boys are prepared…it’s time to go play! 

CAPTAINS: Gavin Hall, Simeon John, Dean Maynard, Jake Redman, Nick Wade (Axeman)

STEADFAST: Resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.

The word that came to me last Sunday morning was STEADFAST. So much of life requires us to get up and keep going. Our game verse Commerce last Friday night reflected this. To begin the night off, it had rained all day and the field was a sponge. Seriously, when we walked on the field it was as if we were walking on a wet sponge. Then to make conditions worse, it poured once again right before kick off.  BUT…STEADFAST…whatever the conditions–put your helmet on and go play!

At the beginning of the game everything went our way and we found ourselves up 26-7 at the end of the first quarter. If we use football as a metaphor for life, life was good. However, the second quarter was the exact opposite. We couldn’t stop Commerce and they were scoring on one explosive play after another.  Something was wrong with how we were playing defense and they found it and exposed it. Heading into halftime, Commerce had come roaring back. We were up 34-28. 

It is easy to get dejected and surely doubt creeps in when you are up 27-6 and then find yourself down 28-27 with four minutes to go in the 2nd quarter. How in the world can you go from being up 27-6 to down 27-28 in the matter of 8 minutes of playing time? What a range of emotions to handle: “We are great…no we are awful…”  

As a team we had to decide who we were going to be. Were we going to put our heads down and just keep chopping away or were we going to break and give up? We could have started blaming each other and our boys could have gotten upset and have thrown temper tantrums. They could have allowed the emotions of dejection overwhelm them and melt. More often than we want to imagine we all have succumbed to giving in. 

STEADFAST! Our message to the boys was just to relax and keep going. We will figure out what is going wrong on defense.  We will start scoring points again.  KEEP GOING! Keep your composure.  Encourage one another in adversity. Take Ownership and don’t point the finger. Remain calm and just keep swinging the ax. Something positive is going to happen for us. STEADFAST! 

At halftime we remained calm and we made some defensive adjustments. We were good and we were ready to go win the second half.  In the third quarter our defense played well but our offense continued to sputter. Commerce scored late in the third quarter to tie the score 34-34. To the common man: It’s over. We are done. 

They scored putting the score at 34-34 and they were about to kick a PAT to go up 35-34. BUT…our defense didn’t give in and our big three defensive linemen broke through the front line and blocked the PAT. All of a sudden we went from NO HOPE to HOPE. All because 3 boys decided to not give up. Instead of the score being 35-34…it was 34-34.  Tied…we still had hope. STEADFAST!

All close games come down to winning the 4th quarter. We won the fourth quarter 14-0. It was awesome to see our boys remain resolute. It was awesome to see no one yelling at each other or giving up. The boys just kept battling in the face of adversity. 

Things were great and we found ourselves up 27-6. Then things were awful and we found ourselves down 27-28. What emotional swings. The message: “Boys have control over your emotions. Do not let yourself get down…keep battling…something good is going to happen.” 

This is life right? It’s not if we are going to face adversity but when and how. And then when it happens how are you going to handle it? Are you going to give up? Or are you going to keep going? 

One of the greatest quotes of all time is quite simple yet so hard to live out. Winston Churchill and Europe were in an all out war against Hitler as he was trying to overtake the world. Churchill was resolute and unwavering in his leadership. His message to his people: 

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

The greatest example of LOVE and STEADFASTNESS is CHRIST!

“BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” Ephesians 2:4-5

God’s love for us is the example of STEADFASTNESS. We rejected God and rebelled against his commands. Rebelling against his commands is rebelling against his Lordship over us. He could have given us up. He could have given up on us and let us be in this life as Hell awaited us in the next. But he didn’t. We rejected him but he did not give up on us. We rebelled against him but he did not give up on us. We sinned against him and he did not give up on us. 

Jesus Christ, being fully God, yet taking human form to come and die on the cross for our sins is the example of STEADFASTNESS. He took on death and our sin so that we may live. Surely Christ could see what we cannot: This world is full of sin. I am full of sin. I was headed to eternal hell. Christ had a clear vision of what a state we were in, I was in. We can’t see it clearly because we are lost in our sin.  We are in bondage to our sin. We hate our Creator. We are separated from God due to our sin.  Death awaits us all and will swallow us all. Separation from God on this earth leads to Hell after death. We are in a hopeless state.  Jesus saw this when we were blind to it.

BUT GOD! God is STEADFAST in his love for us and he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus’ work here on earth is the example of STEADFASTNESS. I pray I could see my sin more clearly. I pray I can see my rejection of the Almighty God with clear vision. Just like I could look up at that scoreboard with clear vision and see 27-28 and know adversity had struck…may I be able to see my sin and my rebelling against God. THEN…I will be able to see clearly the 48-34 and be able to appreciate all that happened for us to win the game. When we can clearly see our sin we can fully appreciate Christ’s VICTORY for us. We will then be able to see his STEADFAST LOVE. Just as that 48-34 victory was made sweeter due to all the adversity…so Christ’s love for us and his work on the cross becomes the ultimate symbol of love. Christ did not give up on us. His love is STEADFAST!

OK–TIME TO GO PLAY!!! 

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the VICTORY belongs to the Lord.” – Proverbs 21:31

Wholly for Christ,

– Coach Gess