Law & Basketball

by Jun 5, 2014

Have you ever tried to learn a sport from a book?  I have.

I got this book called The Art of Shooting Baskets when I was in 8th grade.  I still had aspirations of becoming a world-class athlete, even though I couldn’t even beat half the kids in my class at basketball.  But this book was supposed to change everything– I read it cover to cover, I learned the techniques, and I practiced as best as I could by the book.  After all, this book was written by Ted St. Martin, the guy who made over 5,000 free throws in a row.

To this day, I can’t even make 20 shots in a row.

Now let’s just pretend that Michael Jordan had showed up to my door while I was in 8th grade, and said he wanted to teach me basketball.

I think it’s safe to say that I’d be a lot better at basketball than I am now.

We’ve been talking about life in the Spirit vs. life under the Law in a community group I’m in.  The difference between having to live by the Law and living by the Spirit is kind of like the difference between learning basketball from a book and learning basketball from Michael Jordan.

With the Spirit changing us, molding us, reminding us of the Gospel, and helping us put to death the desires of our flesh, we can love God and our neighbor more fully than if we were just trying to do it on our own.  It’s not that we’re free to live disobedient lives because we’re free from the condemnation of the Law– no!  Rather, our obedience should even exceed the obedience of someone who’s under the Law, because we have the Spirit!

It also does not mean that we disregard the Law as believers.  Some of my sweetest times in the Scriptures have been seeing God’s commands– how I’ve fallen short, how He’s forgiven me, and how He will empower me to grow and be conformed to Jesus.  Where would I be without God’s word, which shows me how to live in a way that’s pleasing to Him?  But praise God that it doesn’t end there! We’ve received His Law, but we’ve also received grace which frees us from all condemnation, and we’ve received the Spirit, Who empowers us and conforms us into the image of Christ.