First Base Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (ESV)
Second Base God, rich in mercy and great in love, has saved us by His grace through Christ. We have been raised spiritually and have heavenly standing in Christ. We have not worked to earn their salvation, but we are saved to work for Him. (Source: Bible Panorama)
Third Base Participation Trophies: Back in the 70’s participants in sporting events began receiving “participation awards”. To some this was a way to raise the self-esteem of a child while to others it was the cause that created the “entitlement” culture we live in today.
Home Plate The pros and cons of giving participation trophies is in part an outgrowth of the parenting style which says “I want my kids to have it better than I had it”. Writer Jason Lisk has the opinion the entitlement generation started with parents modeling the behavior shown to their kids when their team didn’t qualify for a trophy or ribbon. Yes, it is good for us to want our children to have a better life than we had growing up. But learning a life lesson from losing is just as important as the lesson we learn from winning. Satan has an angle for everything. He says if you’re a winner you worked hard enough to win but if you are a loser then you must work harder next time. The scriptures on the other hand teach that works will not make us a winner. The Apostle Paul writing to the Ephesians makes it perfectly clear that we are saved by grace – through faith and not by works. If we were to receive salvation through works, then there would be a leader board somewhere showing the top ten in the public works department. The focus would be on the individual performing the works and not the gift to the giver. It would lead to prideful boasting and jealousy. Christ’s death on the cross did not earn His salvation for He didn’t need saving. His death earned salvation for you and I. How do we keep our eyes on the Lord? Remember that Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit as a result of turning from sin and receiving God’s free gift of eternal life. We can learn to keep our focus on the indwelling Christ. Listen to what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5: Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don’t you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Participation trophies have their place in sports but their importance must not come at the expense of a parent’s responsibility to help their children develop their talents and learn those skills which will help them grow into well-adjusted adults who understand how to handle both winning and losing in this life. Paul ask we examine our lives for evidence of trust in Christ (Heb. 3:6), obedience to God (Matt 7:21), growth in holiness (Heb. 12:14), the fruit of the Spirit (Gal, 5:22, 23), love for other Christians (1 John 3:14), positive influence on others (Matt 5:16), adhering to the apostolic teaching (1 John 3:14), and the testimony of the Holy Spirit within them (Rom. 8:15, 16). Make the evidence search today!
Final Out Today I start by recognizing I have a great treasure within me which is Christ the Anointed One of God. By discovering your presence in my spirit and not just in my mind makes a personal relationship with you that leads me to victory this day. Amen
Daily Devotional – Thought from the Diamond
by Phil Wagner