Faith, Family

More than a Mantra

A Highschool American Football game
Image via Wikipedia

My pastor recently preached a sermon indicating we need more than a mantra in our lives.  He briefly made the correlation between a pep rally and the actual football game.

This analogy was one to which I could relate.  With my husband being a high school football coach, we’ve had many “mantras” over the years invented to rally the troops.

Hustle, Hit and Never Quit. 

All Out, All Game, All Season. 

One Town, One Team, One Dream.

And, what posse of Pirates wouldn’t force their opponent to walk the plank with Battle in the Boneyard hanging off the bleachers and Big Buc gripping the Jolly Roger

Truth be told, when the lights come on and the boys hit the field on Friday night, the pre-game pep rally and moving mantra offer little assistance if the players aren’t prepared for the battle ahead.  In fact, a victory is the gathering of a harvest produced by the seeds of exhaustive training prior to the big game.  Not the fruit of an emotionally stimulating, catchy phrase.

Mantra is defined, by Wikipedia, as a group of words considered capable of “creating transformation”.

And, according to motivational coach Remez Sasson,

Mantras are used to impress the subconscious with a thought that can motivate you, remind you of your talents and provide the confidence you need to accomplish goals.  Regular use of positive affirmations [mantras] can help change your attitude, behaviors and habits.

It may sound simple-minded to seriously depend on a slogan to motivate a metamorphic make-over.  And many of you are certain you’ve not stooped to this type of game.  Nevertheless, you might consider checking your play book again.  Grab your stadium cushion, take a seat in the stands and watch the game of your life for a few downs.  From where I sit, it appears many of us are staking claim to the Solid Rock but playing our game on sinking sand.

Throw the flag!  Blow the whistle, ref!  Penalty on the offense.

We’ve bought into the pep-rally mentality.  We look flashy and our Christianity seems exciting.  But, many of us are jumping offsides from one “positive affirmation” to the next.  Fair-weather fans with hearty enthusiasm but shallow convictions.  Armchair quarterbacks with robust determination lasting no longer than halftime.

Our artificial achievements are weak and short-lived.  They aren’t the “fruits meet for repentance.”

 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.  And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father, ‘ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!  Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees!  Therefore every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Luke 3:8-9)

Is the crop we’re yielding consistent with a changed heart and mind rooted in Christ?  This demands more effort than subscribing to a shallow slogan.  This reformation requires more than the arousal of pep-rally emotions.

It’s time to focus on the weekday workouts.  Time to dig in.  Get dirty.  Sweaty.  Broken and poured out.  Let the fruit of our lives be the gathering of the harvest produced by the seeds of deep and intensive training.

Victory will be ours because we determined to live more than a mantra.

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