I love sports analogies, perhaps more than I should admit. They help to connect something we know (athletics) to something we want to discuss (faith).
Since you now know that I love sports analogies, it shouldn’t come as a shock to you that I believe many of us sit on the sidelines regarding our faith.
What do I mean? Think about what happens on the sidelines during a game. If you are an athlete on the sideline, you might be watching the game but you are not involved in what is occurring. You have no involvement in whether your team scores the go-ahead run or that all-important touchdown. You are there. You are present. However, you are not actively involved.
I think this defines many of us when it comes to our faith in God. We claim faith. We believe in God. However, we are sitting on the sidelines and not actively involved in our faith. The game of life is going on in front of us and we are sitting it out and say something like, “I’ll play later.”
How do we sit on the sidelines? We do so by not doing the things that strengthens our faith in God, such as reading Scripture, prayer, being in fellowship with others, and finding ways to serve. When we are not doing these things, which John Wesley called the “means of grace,” we become disconnected to the One we love and who loved us first.
The opposite of sideline sitting is what we find in Acts 18. Here we see Priscilla and Aquila, two prominent followers of Christ in Acts, take an active role in their faith. We see this in how they approach Apollos, who was a man well versed in Scripture, but did not fully understand their words. After hearing Apollos preach, Priscilla and Aquila took an interest in Apollos’ discipleship. They became involved in his life and helped him to better understand the life of Christ and the Word of God.
Priscilla and Aquilla refused to sit on the sidelines. They played a part in helping someone grow closer to God. As Paul will later say in his letters, Priscilla and Aquila showed their love of God by the fruit produced in guiding Apollos to a deeper faith in God.
We do not have to be sideline sitters in our faith. We can be actively involved in ministry and leadership. Through big and small ways, we can impact the world by sharing the hope of Christ and our love of the Lord through our words and actions.
If you are a sideline sitter, how can you move off the sidelines and become more involved in your faith? What do you need to do to grow closer to God? Do you need to read Scriptures more? Pray more? Become more involved in the church and its missions?
My prayer is that we are not a church filled with people who sit on the sidelines of faith, but, instead, are actively involved in sharing the hope of Christ with the world.