Over the past two years, our Student Pastor, Keith Trollinger, has been training and leading me to be the Campus Pastor and Chaplain at the Central School cluster. During the months of August through November, if you were to ask me what I’m doing the answer would most likely be related to football.
Part of being the Chaplain for the Central High and Middle School football teams includes being a spiritual leader to the students as well as the coaches and their staff. I’m there on the practice field leading devotionals, in the weight room praying for students before games, and in the multi-purpose room every Tuesday night eating cheap pizza and leading a Bible study with the football team. I have invested a lot of time into these guys and have built strong relationships with a lot of the athletes and coaches.
During the first football game of the season for Central High, I caught a glimpse of Keith and immediately thought, “Why is he here? Shouldn’t he be at Carrollton? Who does he think he is?” I carried this mindset for a couple of weeks and it impacted our relationship. Anytime he was at Central, it was obvious I did not want him there, so he asked me why.
Because I didn’t want him there. Duh.
When I really considered it, I discovered the why behind my attitude was because Keith disrupted what my heart worshipped. He disrupted the kingdom that I had built around myself. The dysfunction, the attitude, the behavior, all of it was symptoms of what my heart desired.
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? – James 4:1
Our hearts are at constant war between our flesh and the Spirit; to give in to the desires of this world or to desire Jesus. The cravings of the flesh drive us to do shameful deeds in order to get what we want. It drives us to envy and enmity. In this life, we have to choose whether to make our main object our own desires or the will of God. And, if we choose our own desires, we have thereby separated ourselves from our fellow man and from God. This is when war breaks out.
But to end the war, we must put ourselves to death. We have to crucify our desires because we desire temporary pleasure and when we follow them, we become adulterers in order to experience our desires (see James 4:4-7). The desires of our hearts do not compare to the satisfaction that Jesus brings!
The war has already been won! We are the victors, but we have to waive the white flag of surrender to experience this victory.