Saturday’s rivalry game between Ohio State and Michigan lived up to the hype by going into double-overtime, and OSU dramatically winning 30-27. It was an epic finish with Curtis Samuel running the ball into the end zone on first down, following the controversial 4th down play.

Michigan had a 3-point lead and needed the stop on 4th down, but OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett ran for the first down to set up the winning play. However, there is still debate as to whether or not Barrett actually crossed the first down marker or if Michigan stopped him before he reached it.

Depending on what team you root for, the play could have been called either way and will undoubtedly go down in history.

My takeaway from this legendary game is how true the sayings “It’s a game of inches” and “Every inch counts” really are. Incredibly, it took four quarters and two overtimes for Ohio State to make the crucial play on 4th down…by mere inches.

As I think about inches separating the winner and loser on Saturday, I consider how 18 inches is the distance between our brain and heart. If we rely solely on our knowledge of God to remain in our mind and stop short of our heart, we miss out on the transforming power of Jesus.

When we try to figure out God with only our minds, disbelief can lead to a closed heart. Or we may believe in God with our minds and have knowledge of the Bible, but still don’t truly surrender our hearts by receiving Jesus into our lives. Sadly, either way can prevent us from eternity with God…by just 18 inches.

God wants our hearts and minds to be in sync and fully devoted to Him. It’s not just knowing about Him with head knowledge, but giving our hearts to Him as our Lord and Savior.

Romans 1:20-22 (NLT) says, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.”

Today, let’s make sure our minds (or a few inches) aren’t preventing us from a transformed and committed heart that is filled with worship and thanksgiving. Let’s hold onto the hope found in Romans 10:9 (NLT):

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I’m thankful for salvation through Jesus. I pray that I will fully understand the importance of my heart being surrendered to You. Help me not to get caught up in knowledge alone, but to have a heart that is open and committed to You. I pray my heart would be filled with worship and thanksgiving, as my heart rejoices for the salvation You’ve given me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.