NFL=No Football Love

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

- Psalm 20:7

This week serves as an annual reminder of how I both love and loathe the NFL (National Football League). Football is my favorite sport to watch, the one you could say I am most passionate about. Every year when the Super Bowl comes around, there is both an excitement and a discouragement. I love the build up to the game, watching two teams compete for the ultimate prize, and sitting back with a delicious New York style pizza in hand (a family tradition). When the big game comes to an end this Sunday, the harsh reality sets in that there will be no football for seven months! Despite the love I show the pigskin, there is also a growing disdain for the gridiron. Each year that my favorite team, the Miami Dolphins, has a poor showing I am quite disheartened. To compound the wound, my least favorite team, the New England Patriots, seem to be in the Super Bowl every year (8 in the last 18 years). And here we are again with our rival New England competing for another championship. It has gotten so bad that last year when the dreaded Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit to win the Super Bowl, I shook my head in disbelief and disapproval. Trust me, if I had the power to stop them from having this dynasty I would have done it long ago!

As I think about this weekend being Super Sunday (what has become a national pastime/holiday), I am reminded of how important it is not to put our hopes in anyone or anything other than Jesus. Far too often and far too easy, we allow “things” to determine our joy, peace, and confidence levels. I am quite certain that most of us have experienced the harsh reality of being let down by those things we had lifted up to unhealthy heights. When our trust and hope is placed in another person, in a set of possessions, in a career, in an accomplishment, or in an outcome/result from any number of life’s arenas (i.e.- sports, politics, award shows), we will quickly and regularly discover that these things are not perfect, do not guarantee happiness or success, and often are accompanied with several conditions and heavy burdens. Many people’s sense of identity is based on how another person loves and affirms them. For some self-worth is defined by the occupation they hold and the title they have in the company. Others are unable to discover a life of peace and contentment apart from the amount of money they have or the size of house they live in. And still some are easily disturbed and emotionally debilitated based on things like politics, Facebook posts, and yes, even a sporting event outcome.

This Sunday is yet another reminder that our sense of identity, joy, and purpose is not to come from any other source but the Savior’s love and our faith in God. We would do well to hear and heed the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:7-8 when it comes to what brings to true happiness, hope, and heart change, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.

No matter how many friends you have, there is nobody who gives perfect love like God!

No matter how much money you have, there is nobody who releases true riches like God! No matter how high you have climbed the corporate ladder, there is nobody who gives clear purpose like God!

No matter how great things are in your world, there is nobody who provides total peace like God! No matter how your favorite team fares, there is nobody who delivers the ultimate victory like God!

No matter what happens to your relationships, investments, and job, there is nobody who promises a future hope like God!

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