The Carolina Panthers are 0-1 to start the season, and the discussion following their first game has centered around the reigning MVP taking too many hits to the head without the defensive players being penalized.

Cam Newton is strong and tough and an extremely unique quarterback, but the concern has been raised that he is being unfairly treated by the refs, based on the brutal hits he took against the Broncos.

We know that football is dangerous and physical, but with the NFL front office talking so much about player safety and making changes to protect them, we expect to see results on the field.

Panthers tight end, Greg Olsen, recently shared some strong words about this: “I don’t think you can talk about player safety and then have what unfolded. You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth. Player safety sounds great. It’s a great off-season rallying cry. It sounds awesome. We got zero yards out of any of those hits.”

The NFL obviously faces tension. On one end the league was built on huge hits and crushing tackles, while the other end desires safety for the players. Unfortunately, last Thursday night looked like an old game before safety was important…putting hypocrisy smack dab into the spotlight.

Hypocrisy and talking out of both sides of the mouth are not exclusive to the NFL. Each day we face the challenge of living out what we believe and say is true, while feeling the pull to pursue what the world has to offer. We desire to be obedient to God’s Word, but the traps of our former way of living surround us.

It’s important to keep our hearts in check, and make sure our words and desires are reflective in the way we live and not like those described in Matthew 15:7-9 (NLT): “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”

As true followers of Jesus, we can fully depend on Him to strengthen us and transform our hypocritical ways. Today, let’s humbly surrender our hearts to God and allow Him to work through us…and not just give lip service. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I don’t want to be a hypocrite and talk out of both sides of my mouth. I know that I need your strength and grace through Jesus to live a genuine life that is fully surrendered to you. Forgive me for the areas of life that don’t line up with what I say I believe. I trust that you will transform my heart. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.