I have heard it said that practice makes perfect. I have also heard it said that perfect practice makes perfect. You know, I played College baseball at Cal. State Fullerton and Professional baseball for ten in years in the Royals, Braves and Orioles Organizations and I can say from experience that practice makes you better, but not perfect. I practiced day after day, month after month, in college, in the Big Leagues. I studied pitchers and hitters, I watched my own at bats, read scouting reports, there was nothing that escaped my preparation. But here's the thing. It didn't matter how hard I tried. It didn't matter how hard I worked. I was never going to hit 1.000 in the game of baseball.
We have redefined the term "perfection" to mean really good. But guess what, really good isn't good enough. Some one better always comes along. We will eventually be out done and left looking for a new team or out of baseball all-together. And that truth hit its mark in my career. You know that I found the same thing applies to life. We go through life trying to be somebody. We go through life trying to work our way into every position possible including heaven. Being the best you can be might be good enough in an imperfect world but being the best you can be is not good enough for God. How great would it be to have someone go back over my career and every time I made an out they would erase it from my statistics. Or every time they saw an error they wiped the slate clean.
I want to share with you a time in my baseball career when that very thing happened. In 1993 I was in a snowmobile accident. And broke my neck, back and left arm. Because of the injuries I missed half of the next season. I found myself sitting on the bench for the first time.
I had a friend that sat next to me on the same bench during the same games of the same season and he seemed to handle it just fine. I talked with Jason on several occasions about our playing time and he told me more than once that he was there to support his teammates. That was a totally different reason than why I was there. There was something different about him and I wanted it. My buddy lived out his walk and in 1994 God used him to bring an imperfect baseball player, an imperfect human being into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I have a message for those of you who are seeking what Jason had. I found out right away that I was not perfect, nor could I ever be. I believed I had to control myself to get where I wanted to go, including Heaven. Here's what I learned: God is Perfect. The Bible uses words like holy, and righteous. I¬†knew I wasn't perfect, but didn't know the ramifications until I opened up God's word.
The great motivator in the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote, "there are none righteous no, not one." He said further that all (of us) have messed up, or sinned and "fallen short of the glory of God." There were plenty of times when I made errors that I thought the official score keeper was wrong. But I didn't get a say in the matter. There are a lot of times when I feel that what I do is ok, but God has his standards. Remember "perfection"? So whatever we do just won't measure up.
Paul lets us know that it actually gets worse before it gets better. He wrote, "The wages of sin is death." That means that where there is wrongdoing someone has to pay. And God has made it clear from the first sin that death would be¬†the payment. But not just a physical death (we know about that); there is also a spiritual death. A separation from the life source, GOD! Picture it this way. God is light and we are dark. Can light and dark be in the same place at the same time? No, of course not. Neither can a Perfect and Holy God be in the presence of sin or imperfection. Paul doesn't leave us down in the dumps though. He shows us how imperfection can be transformed. So do we do it? That's my point. We do not do anything. We can't! No matter how had we try, how good we are, Big leaguer or minor leaguer, how often you read the bible or even attending church every week, nothing we do is good enough.
But here's Paul's punch line. Jesus became perfection for us. "In that while we are still in our sin (even though He knew we would still mess up) Jesus died for us." Can you imagine that? Remember earlier when I longed for my errors to be erased and my outs to be washed away. That's what happened to me in 1994. My errors were totally washed away by the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross. That is good news. And here is better news. Stay with me now! Are you ready? HE DIDN'T STAY DEAD! Nope! Three days later God raised Him from the dead just like he had predicted. Now for the best news‚Ä¶ you can be a part of it.
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