January 2013 will go down in sports history as a very big, but sad month of news. Some people were shocked that for the first time since 1996 no one was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Superstars Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa were denied entry due to their steroid-tainted career.
All American Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, who won numerous awards, was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, and was a projected first round draft pick had an inspirational senior season. Part of the inspiration came in September as it was reported that he suffered the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, 6 hours later from Leukemia. In spite of adversity, Te’o dedicated the season to his dead girlfriend and went on to have an incredible season. It representing one of the most inspirational stories in college football and he made the cover of sports illustrated. It was later discovered however that his girlfriend didn’t exist and the entire story was a hoax.
Then there was the great Lance Armstrong the amazing bicyclist who overcame testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs and went on to win numerous races such as the Tour De France. It was another inspirational story of someone overcoming great obstacles. There were numerous stories of steroid used by various people who knew him. He vigorously denied the charges for years but in January he had an interview with Oprah in which he came clean and admitted to doing the things regarding steroids and performance enhancing drugs that he denied for years.
An Opportunity for God’s People to Shine
All these issues of cheating reminded me of something an atheist (who is a friend that I witness to) said to me, “I have a theory, everyone cheats and steals, it is just a matter of their price.” I tried to counter his thoughts and brought up the nature of sin but he didn’t completely buy it.
His attitude as well as many others regarding cheating scandals and corruption in society makes me think of Romans 8.
Rom 8:18-21 CEV…. 19 In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20 Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21 that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22 We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth.
While Paul’s reference points to the return of the Lord it also has pertinence to the day we live in. Inside of people there is a “groaning” because of the “confusion and decay” that the culture lives in. I can almost hear the subconscious thoughts, “Are there any honest people, does everyone cheat, is there anyone you can trust?”
On one hand it is a “confusing” time for culture but it is also a great opportunity for the body of Christ to rise up and live lives of integrity that He has called us to. What the prophets Isaiah and Micah predicted (Micah 4 and Isaiah 2), we should long for, “in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will rise up above the hills.” It is time for God’s people to shine with authenticity and integrity. As Paul said, we are to stand out in a crooked and perverse generation as “lights to the world” Phi 2:15 that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.
Remember an important thought, “The Church’s greatest apologetic for this generation is our Authenticity!”
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