42 of 52 Voices October 27, 2014
The C3 Leaders devotion is a peer weekly reflection from business leaders related to their journey with Christ. Each weekly devotion will be written by a different author from among the C3 Leaders community.
As we go through this next year together, we pray that these words and reflections will encourage you in your relationship with Jesus Christ.
My wife, Julie, and I walked into the sports pub, and scoped out a booth near the back with a good view of the big screen, where a game was under way. I could see Dallas was playing. (As a child, I used to create detailed drawings of football helmets with NFL team emblems. The team names and logos were engrained in me at a young age, so I can tell at a glance which teams are playing). We found a booth near the rear corner, and sat side-by-side to chat and eat while watching the game.
My 52 Voices devotional is about uniforms.
What makes a Seahawk a Seahawk? One of the key identifiers is the uniform. At last summer’s C3 golf tournament, our guest speaker was Seahawk starting center Clint Gresham, #49. Even though I’ve now met Clint and shook his hand, if I passed him (or any other Seahawk except maybe Russell Wilson or Richard Sherman) on the street I probably wouldn’t recognize him as a Seahawk without his uniform. Even though he has spent a lifetime developing his skill, the uniform is what authenticates him as a Seahawk and makes him recognizable to me. This notion of identification by uniform is so strong that even I could probably pass as a Seahawks if I wore Clint’s #49 uniform on game day (at least until the offense took the field and it became clear that I’m not Clint!).
What makes a Christian a Christian? One of the key identifiers is the uniform: the robe of righteousness. Unlike a Seahawk, we don’t earn this uniform though years of skill development. It’s given to us by God. Instead of a number and team colors, it is emblazoned with “righteousness” – Christ’s righteousness. We are suddenly counted as being “on the team” even though we are full of foibles and character flaws.
My analogy isn’t perfect. Here’s where it falls apart: Clint has to actually BE great in order to keep his job and his uniform. In the case of my robe, it’s the robe itself that makes me righteous in the eyes of the team owner (God), and ensures I stay on the roster.
Unlike a Seahawk, as a Christian, the pressure to “produce results” is off. No amount of awesome citizenship, smart/fair business dealings, philanthropy, or great personal style moves us past the line of scrimmage. Instead, we are along for the ride, destined to win the Superbowl. The robe itself transports us over the goal line, and puts a Superbowl Ring on our finger. Along the way, we’ll learn and desire awesome citizenship, smart/fair business dealings, philanthropy and even some great personal style. We’ve already won the game.
Isaiah 61:10 – “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
An now, an application question: (hint: this is a trick question).
QUESTION: In what areas are you not living up to the standards of the uniform God has given you?
ANSWER: All areas. We don’t live up to the standards, ever. We don’t earn the uniform. And to put it bluntly, our attempts to do so are an insult to the team owner.
For me, this revelation has changed how I view myself, and how I interact with others. I’m getting better at accepting other imperfect people, and interacting with them more naturally. Believe me, there were many years where I had a tougher time accepting myself, felt a lot of pressure to perform the impossible, and couldn’t relate to people who seemed to not care as much about sin as I did. But as I absorb this notion that I’m wearing Jesus’s righteousness (as opposed to my own) the performance pressure is off. God doesn’t value me on the basis of my own works, and this compels me to practice valuing others separate from their own works. I’m becoming much more comfortable around people of many types, such as those who are greedy, or those who drink a lot of beer, or those good at swearing, and myriad other things I used to get hung up about. Interestingly, doorways of genuine conversation about the Gospel of Jesus have unfolded with some of these people. I don’t have to worry about “converting” a person or “bringing them to Christ.” Instead, I can trust Christ to bring people to himself; trust God to change a person’s heart. Sometimes I wonder if I’m becoming less spiritual or more spiritual. But even that question itself can be a trap. My job is to wear my robe, and not judge myself or others by pre-robe.
by Kevin Veatch, Kevin Veatch Design, Inc.