We’re one day into the NCAA Tournament and we’ve already witnessed a 12-seed beat a 5-seed…a school get their first tournament win…and 1-seeds experience first-half scares.

After 16 games, many of us look at our bracket and can’t believe we actually picked some of the teams we did. We hoped they would have pulled the upset, but deep down we knew we should have “erased” those picks. Unfortunately, we stuck with them anyway. 

The thoughts swirling around in our mind or the comments being made by our friends and co-workers most likely sound like this: “I should have picked that team – I knew it in my gut, but was scared and went the other way” or “I was about to pick them, but changed my mind at the last minute.” 

Our gut feeling is usually at the core of making decisions on who will advance. The analysis we hear, our history in watching a team, and our thoughts on a coach all factor into that gut feeling. However, we don’t always follow our gut for one reason or another, and go against our better judgment. 

As followers of Jesus, we have something even stronger than a “gut feeling” because we have God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us. We make decisions all day every day, and we must choose to follow the Spirit or go the other way. If we are walking closely with the Lord we know what to pick, but when we choose to be disobedient instead, we deal with the consequences. 

Many times the Spirit is convicting us of something that needs to change in our lives, but we are too stubborn to let go and won’t “erase” the sin.

There are also times when God is leading us to step out in faith, but at the last minute we let fear win and hold us back. We know we should pick the “12-seed in life” because God has made it clear to us, but then we let doubt take over and change our mind at the last minute. 

There is a daily battle between our human nature and God’s Spirit within us, but Philippians 2:13 (NLT) gives us encouragement to be victorious: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” 

Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with the same “should ofs” and “would ofs” that we experience when making bad choices on our brackets. Instead, we can choose to follow God as He clearly leads us, grows us, protects us, and gives us the power to do what He desires us to do. We don’t have to guess!

So today, let’s choose to please Him above all else…and also rest in the grace He shows us when we do blow it and make the wrong pick. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray that I would walk in step with Your Spirit. Please help me choose You over fear or temporary pleasure. I desire to please You and follow Your path. I pray I would avoid the would ofs and should ofs, while resting in Your grace when I do miss the mark. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.