A Fulfilling Life

“We often forget that the author of our faith must be the finisher of it also.” Charles Spurgeon

I suppose my story starts out like a lot of these. My family is great; the label Christian wasn’t enough for them, and I thank God for it. I first accepted Christ into my heart (whatever that means) while I was still in preschool. I wanted to be a better Christian than those around me; but that usually just looked like me not drinking or smoking, being really involved in my youth group and asking Jesus back into my heart whenever I got scared he had possibly packed up and migrated somewhere else. I was fine with what I was doing. Whether or not Jesus had a room rented out in my heart, the sign on the front of it said SPORTS. God is in the habit of renovating hearts though, and little did I know he was working on the blueprints for an overhaul that looked something like Hope East. It didn’t look very different on the outside, but on the inside it was going to look like a brand new building.

“The human heart is an idol factory… Every one of us from our mothers womb is an expert in inventing idols” John Calvin

I engaged in my heart’s desire in college: coaching football. I got a job on the staff of my college’s football team as a freshman, and worked my way up the ladder the next few. Football gave my life meaning. It was supposed to offer me earthly salvation. It gave me my identity. Eventually, the weight of glory I put on football crushed it. The foundations couldn’t hold it. So one year, it finally crumbled. I was actually praying that we would lose playoff games because I was so miserable. God had opened my eyes.

“So the soul defiles itself with unchaste love when it turns away from you and looks elsewhere for things which it cannot find pure and unsullied except by returning to You.” St. Augustine

Augustine talks about allowing our loves to be misordered. I realized what the problem was. I loved football more than I loved God, and as such, I worshipped it like I was supposed to worship God. I had tried to cram the round peg of football into the square shaped hole found at the center of everyone’s heart that only Jesus can fill. There was simply nothing else I could put there. Better yet, instead of asking Jesus into my heart, He had just kicked in the door and moved in. That same weight I had put on football now rested on Him. I know He will not ever fail to hold that weight.

“No one can part You from the things that you love, and safety is assured nowhere but in You.” St. Augustine


Joel Stegman

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