You may not know this, but I almost went to the NBA. Only a few things held me back. First, I was 5’11” and 125 lbs. I have added some pounds since then, but mostly rock solid muscle of course. Secondly, I was limited in talent. Apart from that, I was a shoe in.
Seriously, I love playing basketball. It is one of my favorite hobbies. Always has been. I actually was a decent player too. I was quick and could shoot the ball fairly well.
Here is a truth about playing basketball you may not know. Once a person steps on the court, all the masks come off. If you want to know who a person really is, you observe them playing basketball. I am convinced of it. I actually think it should be a prerequisite for job interviews or premarital counseling. Have the bride and groom to be go one on one. Watch them play one hour of basketball. You will know if it’s meant to be. Trust me.
When I was 21, I was leading a ministry at a Christian camp. We played basketball regularly with the high school students. I was “this close” to NBA stardom (I hope you have caught on to my slight sarcasm). Then, in an instant. I changed direction catching the ball and my leg bent in a way it shouldn’t have. I knew my knee was shredded.
Of course, the physical pain was intense and would be for some time. But here is what flooded my mind the moment I hit the ground: I was saving for a ring to propose to my girl and that cost money. I was on my way to seminary for a Master’s degree. That costs money. I knew I would need surgery and I didn’t have insurance. That would cost money. On top of that, I knew that I didn’t have money.
So, in this instance, it would be understandable by many that the first words to come out of my mouth would probably get me fired if I were to quote them in this blog. But, what came out of my mouth surprised even me.
In all my frustration and pain as I rolled around on the gym floor, I began quoting James chapter 1. “Consider it pure joy my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be made mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
You see, just a month earlier, Jessica and I committed to memorize God’s Word together. We hid this deep in our hearts. And it made a difference.
Here’s what this practice does:
If gives you victory over temptation.
It gives you comfort in despair.
It helps you communicating the Gospel and the greatness of God.
Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life).
Will you hide His Word in your heart, so that in times when you least expect, it will overflow in your speech and action?