This past weekend was a great start to the college football season with some nice upsets and exciting finishes. One of the things I love most about this sport is the die-hard nature of the fans. Most of the programs who love football have a unique home stadium experience with their own songs, chants, colors, and traditions.

On Saturday, I witnessed firsthand what Sanford Stadium is like in Athens, GA, as I watched Appalachian State take on Georgia. Although the game was brutal for my Mountaineers, I enjoyed seeing the Bulldogs’ campus, stadium, and overall atmosphere.

Throughout the day, I clearly felt like a visitor and outsider – especially since I was one of the very few fans wearing black and gold. Wearing bright yellow shorts, definitely gave away which side I represented!

Walking around a stadium with over 90,000 Georgia fans (and you’re not one of them) is an interesting feeling. I wasn’t participating in their fight songs, or standing to cheer when their team scored, or high fiving with the other fans in red. Instead, I stood out as someone who didn’t quite fit in.

When you’re a fan of the opposing team, and your home is somewhere else, you don’t embrace the culture of the home crowd or become one of them when they’re winning. You stick to being loyal and committed to your team…even though it can be difficult to do.

As followers of Jesus, we should experience something similar in our day to day life. This world is temporary and our permanent home for eternity is in heaven with God. We should relate to being outsiders and not fitting in because we live in a culture that is much different than how we live.

We stand out when we don’t participate in the “chants and songs” of the “home team,” and remain loyal and committed to the team we represent. When everyone around us is wearing a different “team color,” we can feel overwhelmed and lonely.

However, we must remain strong and proudly wear our colors to stand out…and show our love and commitment to Jesus. Our lives will look different from those around us, but that’s okay when we know our team has already won in the end.

We can’t be surprised when we get stares for our bright yellow shorts or feel uncomfortable when we’re the only one cheering for our team. Instead, we need to remember we’re not alone and what we’re experiencing is to be expected.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:11 (NLT), “Dear friends, I warn you as ‘temporary residents and foreigners’ to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.”

John 15:19 (ESV) tells us, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Today, let’s walk into the opposing stadium with boldness and confidence as we rely on God’s strength. Let’s remain loyal and committed to the team we represent…even when surrounded by the other team’s craziest fans!

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, it’s difficult to be an outsider in a world that seems to be going in a different direction than I am. I need Your strength to help me stand up for what I believe. Please give me the confidence to follow You wherever You want me to go. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.