As the NBA Finals finished up on Sunday, we saw the culmination of two intriguing story lines that defined the course of the series. With each passing game it became clear that Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki could be counted on in “crunch time” and Miami’s LeBron James couldn’t be. Since they were considered the best players for each of their respective teams, it followed naturally that they would be considered the go-to guys when it came time to win the game. While James shied away from the spotlight and deferred to his teammates, Nowitzki continued to take over at the end of each game, oftentimes demanding the ball. After Dallas won the series, Nowitzki was recognized as the Most Valuable Player of the finals and LeBron was widely pointed to as the reason for Miami’s defeat. Dirk will now go down in history as the hero because he took control. No one questioned his status as the “alpha dog” in the series. He was the guy who took over when it mattered, and everyone knew it.
We look at this ability to take control as an admirable trait, and when it comes to basketball it is. However, we also seem to carry that expectation over to the rest of life, too. A real man is in control. A real man takes over and decides his own way, right? I’ll admit it; I try to pull a Dirk in the major decisions in my life. In the same way he demanded the ball, I sometimes try my hardest to snatch authority from God when the time comes to make choices. We all do this at times. But that’s not what Scripture asks of us, is it? We are to submit ourselves to God and accept His guidance.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6
God makes promises to those who submit themselves to Him, and any time we remove ourselves from His guidance we don’t have the security of those promises. I think we all agree that when a person becomes a Christian they acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Lordship implies authority and control, and an unwillingness to submit to that authority separates us from Him as our Savior. It must be our goal to live lives that are guided by our Lord and His Word. We can’t demand authority or claim to be the “alpha dog” in our decision making. Don’t force your own way, but be patient and wait for God to open or close the doors that He wants to open and close for us. This is so, so hard to do, but when the time comes to win or lose in this life, you want the game to be in God’s hands. Trust Him in whatever you do.
“Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” – Psalm 62:8