The Lord, not LeBron
“Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to His anointed. He answers him from His heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of His right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”- Psalm 20:6-7
As a huge basketball fan, I was beyond stoked when the best basketball player in the world, LeBron James, decided to join the Lakers this summer as a free agent. LeBron has always been one of my favorite players. I love his knowledge of the game, his “team first” approach, his unparalleled athleticism, his multi-faceted abilities, and the durability throughout his long career. I was not the only one who was giddy over the newest and biggest member of the “Purple and Gold”. There have been billboards popping up throughout the city, constant dialogue on sports talk shows, and a major hike in ticket prices and merchandise sales. In fact, some have dubbed the last few months as “The Summer of LeBron” in Los Angeles.
The other day I was praying through the sanctuary. I was thanking the Lord for His goodness, declaring life over every person in the church family, and inviting His glorious presence and promises to fill me up! As I walked through each aisle my mind began to wonder (I am sure I am not alone in this happening during prayer times), and I went from seeking the Lord, to imagining how cool it would be to meet LeBron James. After a couple of minutes of picturing this dream scenario I felt the Holy Spirit begin to challenge and refocus me. Please know, it really had nothing to do with LeBron, because meeting him would not be a bad thing. It had more to do with a deeper issue of how I was determining significance and success. The Lord used my imagination of meeting a favorite athlete to address an insecurity in my heart. The real flaw the Lord was addressing was how I often dwelt on things that were lacking as being the reason I was not experiencing the “ABUNDANT LIFE” I had envisioned or pre-determined. Almost immediately I knew the handful of misguided and unproductive thoughts I had given place to as a pastor. I was convinced that we would be bigger in size and influence as a church family if…
“Those individuals/families who visited would have come back.”
“People would make church a priority and be committed to attending services each week, rather than just once a month.”
“So many families would not have moved out of the area.”
I have allowed these thoughts to become excuses for the limitations I feel and see. These realities became the very source and determining factor in my mind to whether the church was growing/thriving or not. How wrong that is and how lacking of faith that is! Allowing my mind to wander to these places does not align with the invitation and the promises that the Bible speaks of:
Ephesians 3:20- “Now to Him who is to do immeasurably more than all we ask of imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”
Philippians 4:19- “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 23:1- “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
Psalm 145:16- “You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
Jude 2- “Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”
1 Timothy 6:17- “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant or put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Perhaps as you are reading this article the Lord is using my prayer time in the sanctuary to make the same adjustment He made to my thoughts, desires, and limitations. Could it be that you keep imagining how different and how much better life would be if your parents would have given you more love and attention growing up; if your employer would really acknowledge and take advantage of your skill-set; if your numbers would hit in the weekly lottery drawing; if that financial investment would have yielded a greater return; if you would have chosen a different college to attend, a different career path, a different person to marry, or different place to live. Trust me, all of these thoughts will keep you trapped, second-guessing yourself, and living apart from the faith, hope, and joy the Lord is calling you to fully experience. The word of the Lord for us is to move away from the “What IF?” and “What’s NEXT?” mentality and fix our minds on the “What the LORD has?” imagination. Isaiah 26:3 tells us the Lord will, “Keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in Him.” That simple adjustment is the place where self-dreams are turned into God desires, and where limitations are turned into big-time prayer requests.
May we focus on the Lord being our provider, our source of joy, and our eternal hope. Today is a great day to take our thoughts and turn them into the prayer Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-10, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”