UNPACK this

Just Getting In

Published on March 15, 2017 | By

There are 351 schools in the country who have an NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball team. Each of these teams are filled with players, coaches, and fans who hoped to be one of the sixty-eight schools making it into this year’s NCAA Tournament.  

When underdog teams get invited to the "Big Dance," it's especially thrilling to see. But the question gets raised as to whether teams like South Carolina, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Vermont, and Bucknell are just happy to be there or if they actually expect to win? Does winning matter to them...or are they rewarded by “just getting in?”

Teams like this don’t normally admit to having a mindset that how they play doesn’t matter, but their goal could be simply making it into the tournament. Of course, not every team has the same talent, but giving everything they have in order to go as far as they can, should be important. The goal for any team that gets in should be to win as many games as they can.

Although hard to admit, many of us have a similar mentality when it comes to faith and good works. We can easily fall into taking our faith lightly, viewing salvation as a ticket to heaven, and settling for “just getting in.”

We can claim to believe in Jesus, but our lives aren’t always filled with obedience, fruit, and good works. The grace, mercy, and eternal life that Jesus offers us are appealing, but then we can think "the way we play" once we “get in” doesn’t really matter. God's Word helps us realize that His amazing grace and mercy, and offer of eternal life, compel us to do great things. Ephesians 2:9-10 (NLT) tells us, "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."

What is our perspective today? Are we asking what can we do now that we’re in? If we're true followers of Jesus, salvation is the starting point to a life of transformation and God doing amazing things in us and through us.

Our brother, co-worker or friend may be more talented or called to bigger responsibility, but each of us has been uniquely designed to accomplish His will and give Him all we have. God has good things planned for us to do, so let’s go as far as He’ll take us with His power and strength.

We should absolutely be thankful and excited about going to heaven, and find peace in that realization. But at the same time, there is still work to be done on earth, and what we do after we “get in” truly matters. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I’m so thankful for Your grace and the salvation You’ve offered me. I know I’m not saved because of my good works, but please lead me to do the good things You have planned for me to do. I want to go as far as You will take me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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