Be Before DoSeptember 7, 2017
by Rob Globke
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
The usual formula for hockey looks something like this:
Go and do xyz → Become abc
Some examples of this formula might be:
If I score a lot of goals → then I will be a power play player
If I can make big hits & fight → then I am a tough guy
If I can produce → then I will be a success
If I make things happen → then I will be well liked and popular
I could even throw in some in regards to parents & coaches, but it’s probably best to keep this short.
It’s the way of things at the hockey rink. The game of hockey has a culture of EARNING. You create your outcome based on what you do, how much you do, and how well you do it. The game instills this idea that who you are is directly correlated by what you do.
And while I’m not saying it’s necessarily wrong or bad to work hard and try to be someone who does great things, I am going to argue that it is dangerous to apply this same formula to a life of faith. Yet, this is often our default, and sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it! To me, this is backwards and I believe it might be a worthwhile endeavor to stop and rethink the formula. Not to change the variables so much as to simply reorder them.
There must be a different way.
I suggest the formula for our doing should look more like this:
Become abc → Go and do xyz
The life of a Christian is first rooted in being before doing. You are before you can do. We are first chosen, created, loved, forgiven, and made a child in God’s family before we actually can do what he wants us to do. Some examples of this new formula might be:
If I am loved by God → then I will want to love others (1 John 4:19)
If I am God’s workmanship → then I will have specific things to do (Ephesians 2:10)
If I am forgiven → then I will forgive (Colossians 1:14)
If I am reconciled → then I can minister reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18.19)
If I already am I child of God → then I must act like a part of the family (John 1:12)
It’s vitally important we don’t mess with the order. We can’t work our way to God’s love. There aren’t enough good things we can do to make God love us. He loves us even when we aren’t too good. We can’t earn our way onto God’s family like we can a hockey team. No matter how many goals we score, soup kitchens we serve at, or times we go to church in a given week, we don’t become a Christian through our own merits. And, we don’t stay a Christian through our own merits.
We do the things we do because of who we are. That’s the formula. Our identity in Christ shapes our actions. The things we do are a result of our acceptance in Christ, not the means to our acceptance in Christ. I need to constantly remind myself of this, and I encourage you to as well.
The big questions become:
- How does this new formula change the way we play hockey?
- How does this new formula change the way we parent hockey players?
- How does this new formula change the way we coach a hockey team?