by Lori Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld
I have always chafed at what I perceived was a passive role in my relationship with Christ – because what am I to do is receive Him.
Reception seemed entirely passive to me. Examples of receivers – my phone, my radio, the poor and needy – brought up images of waiting, empty, hand upraised, alive only upon receipt of that which is given or sent. It is, indeed, what I am – poor in spirit, soul-needy, awaiting what God has to give, but was this all of it? Am I just a receiver?
Then, I started watching football with my father, and my Heavenly Father opened my eyes to the true nature of receiving. On that field were receivers in action.
On a football team, there is an “offensive” line. This is the group of players charged with getting the football down the field and across the goal to score a touchdown.
And are we Christians not an offense to those defending the way of the world against the very One who died to save it? And are we not charged with bringing that offense past every obstacle in the heart and mind of each soul to whom we present the gospel?
And does it not require a whole team with the training, the stamina, and the passion to persist, to rise up after every hard hit, to keep our focus on the goal despite the odds, despite the noise of the crowd, despite the intentional deceptions and maneuverings of the opposition?
On this offensive line, there is a quarterback who calls the plays, who holds the ball, who scans the field for the best opportunity, the open player, the optimal moment to release the ball into the air in an effort to progress down the field toward the goal.
And is this not like Jesus, the shepherd always seeking the one who has wandered from the ninety-nine, always interceding before the Father for that one who has yet to come home to His heart, always his ears attuned to the Holy Spirit whispering when the wind is in favor of the release?
Also, on this offensive line, are players who live ready to receive. Running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends specifically, who tirelessly, actively train to receive from the quarterback and complete his mission of progressing their kingdom down the field toward the goal – always into enemy territory.
And the more I learn about these players, the more I understand what God seeks from me.
They devote themselves to the goal. They condition, train, eat, sleep, walk, talk, and live their goal. They know after countless minutes, hours, days, and weeks drilling and training, they may be ready on the field but will come up empty-handed. Still, they live in constant vigilance and hope for those moments when they are the ones open and ready.
They train alone. They practice with teammates. They do individual drills with their quarterback. Sometimes, they spend weekends alone with him just paying attention to his ways, his moves, his signals, so when the time comes, when the pressure is on, when the noise is deafening, and the chaos surrounds, even then, their eyes are on him and they are in position to receive.
And is this not what God wants from those who stand ready to receive Him? It no longer feels like a passive role to me; it doesn’t look like it, either, as I position myself in the fields of God.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:11-12 ESV
About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.
Join the conversation: How do you get ready to receive?