“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).
I’m an unwilling football fan. But I watch the Green Bay Packers and have begrudgingly come to like them because of my husband’s devotion to his home-state team. Though I don’t understand all the plays, I sometimes shout at the refs when they make unfair calls; worse, they don’t make calls they should. I find myself rooting for the players on the team, and when they’re hurt, I’m concerned. If a player is cleared by the physician to play after an injury, I pay special attention to the player watching to see if they’re okay. Lately, there’s been controversy about players playing injured, especially regarding concussions and the dangerous long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries.
A talented player suffered a head injury in a game I recently viewed. The decision to put the concussed player back in the game had detrimental consequences, as he passed out upon his return. Thankfully, he recuperated. During a press interview, once he got out of the hospital, he explained that he’d pushed to be put back into the game despite his injuries because he'd been trained that way. Though I agree with the medical experts demanding more protection for football players, I like the concept of learning to play injured when applied to life.
When we take hits such as financial crises, health issues, the loss of loved ones, betrayal, and setbacks, we’re tempted to sulk on the sidelines, nursing our wounds. And these are the times God makes it clear that our talent, preparation, determination, or resources will not win life’s battles. The victory will occur through God’s intervention. Ultimately, God isn’t after our happiness or ability to succeed in life by ourselves. He’s after the team effort (Christ + us) for our transformation.
No matter what the game looks like and how much it may appear we’re losing, despite who doesn’t believe in us, accept us or cheer for us, God knows we’re winners on the winning team—when we play for Him. The Bible says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).
The words of this scripture don’t mean we deny reality, but we must trust in greater truth and learn to walk by faith even when we struggle with:
wanting to return to old habits
being led by our feelings
regret that wrecks us
discouragement because of what life looks like
The bottom line is that as Christians, we must learn to play injured, knowing that the Lord is always with us and we’re on the winning team because Christ has already won. We can do this by:
embracing God’s ways, not ours
getting off the sidelines and returning to the field of life
playing to win
never giving the enemy a chance to convince us to give up our position
keeping our armor on
learning to refresh ourselves (in the locker room of communion and intimacy) with God
learning to walk under the power of God’s authority (allow no other coach to dictate our actions)
speaking God’s word over our lives no matter what it looks like knowing to win isn’t in our head; it’s in our mouth
Lord, help me learn to walk in your power through hard work and obedience. Despite adversities, may continual victories come through faith, and may I one day celebrate with You on the other side! Amen.
Your turn: Have you struggled with playing injured in life? Why? Are there things you can add to the list regarding how to effectively "play injured"?