One day I had a conversation with a basketball coach about their current season. I said “this team is so good, I don’t understand why they haven’t won as many games as they could have”. He looked at me and said something so profound: “Because they are hoopers, these other teams are basketball players. They dunk and they play streetball but when it comes to drills, techniques and plays they don’t want to do that. So when these other teams come to play they basketball them to death and win.” That statement blew my mind and instantly reminded me of our spiritual growth as Christians.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Romans 10:1-2
There was a wise man that once said “Maturity is the continual application of the basic things”. As I think about how this basketball analogy reflects our spiritual growth I think about how disciplines and simple paths help bear so much fruit in our lives. How a “hooper” mentality only works for a little while but has no longevity in the kingdom. How our Facebook lives, cool IG devotions, Christian tees, and worship concert attendance has little weight in comparison to the old paths of fasting, prayer, reading and studying the Word of God. How the “basketball” mentality of disciplining ourselves unto Godliness and studying is what’s really going to help us stand in troubling times. The frill is real…. and if we don’t take time to foster our relationship with God we’re doing nothing but building our house on sand and not the Rock.
I’ve noticed two areas where a hooper mentality can do us more harm than health:
13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:13-14
To be clear, whether you are at a young stage (milk) in Christ or you are growing in maturity (solid food), you are still loved just as much by God. You are still a child of God and still very much in the Kingdom. This scripture is not saying that those on milk are not. However it is saying that there is a place you can be to be mature enough to discern good and evil.
I love passages like the book of Proverbs which helps us gain Godly wisdom. I love how God gives us this to keeps us from deception and wrong decisions. These words will keep you from making harmful decisions. It will help you apply wisdom in conflict or when its important pertaining to your future. The continuance of this will help us to grow and benefit our well being and our walk with Christ.
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11
I had to learn early on that the enemy does not play fair, and he could care less how many quotes you have or anything else that inspires you because that’s not what can stop him. However, the Word of God can. When we as Christians use the tools that God gives us such as His Word, fasting and prayer it holds weight spiritually. God doesn’t leave us without help. If we want to live a life that is not filled with defeat we have to use the weapons He gives us. For example, this what His perfect armor looks like:
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— Ephesians 6:14-18
Next time the temptation comes pay more attention to the flashy things instead of the real disciplines of the faith, ask yourself: Is hoopin' really worth it?
Until next time,