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Using Jesus

by Stephen Adedokun

It hit me that I talked to Jesus only when I needed something

The score was five to four. Unfortunately, we were down, and there were approximately 45 seconds till halftime. As soon as we got possession of the ball, our lacrosse coach quickly called a time-out. We got into a huddle, and my ears perked up when I heard our coach call an isolation play for me. As I ran back onto the field, he called me aside and said,”Deji, we need a goal here, so don’t let me down.”

From that moment on, everything went into slow motion. I felt as if I could see the shape of each of the snowflakes as they fell to the grass on that cold March day. I casually prayed, “Lord, please help me score a goal.”

I picked up the ball. The referee blew the whistle, and I felt like I was floating. I ran hard at my defender and faked left. As he lunged at me, I countered with a hard roll to the right. I saw an opening, but it was quickly closing, so I took one more step and shot a sidearm bounce shot into the corner. The whistle blew, signaling that a goal had been scored. I looked up to the sky and pointed.

The rest of the game was a blur, eventually ending with us winning by several goals. At the conclusion everyone congratulated me on how well I had played. I was happy, but at the same time I felt troubled. Although I couldn’t put my finger on it, I just knew there was something missing. We boarded our bus and began the 45-minute drive back to school.

I ran through the game in my head, hoping to relive the excitement of the goal I’d scored right before halftime. Then I remembered how I’d casually prayed about scoring a goal. I realized sadly that that act characterized my relationship with Jesus. I prayed to Him only when I needed something, and even then, only casually.

From that moment on, I made a wholehearted effort to think of Jesus as a friend—not  someone I went to just to get a favor. But even friendship with Jesus isn’t enough. We must all try to achieve a really close walk with God, similar to that of Enoch. Hebrews 11:5 says: “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God” (NIV).* Enoch was so close to God that God didn’t want him to experience death.

With those thoughts in mind, I began to make changes in my life to strengthen my relationship with God. I started waking up 30 minutes earlier so I could have time for worship. When I prayed, I not only asked God for things but also thanked Him for what He’d already done for me.

Looking back, I find it interesting that a lacrosse game could help me strengthen my relationship with God. After that realization, I began to try to become a witness for God on the field. I started doing little things such as encouraging my teammates to use clean language. Previously, I had hated it when games fell on Saturday, because it meant that I’d have to tell my coach that I wouldn’t be able to play. Also, all of my teammates felt that I was letting them down. But after my spiritual rebirth, when Saturday games were on the schedule, I not only told my coach I wouldn’t be able to attend; I told him about my religion and even invited him to my church!

That one game had taught me a life-changing lesson. It had shown me how to make God first in my life and how to go all the way with Jesus.

*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Stephen Adedokun is a student an Oakwood University in Alabama.

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