I just had to write a post about the controversy surrounding the possibility of the New England Patriots being guilty of using deflating footballs in their win over the Seattle Seahawks in the AFC championship game. The readers of this blog know that I am a Viking fan. I try hard to keep it all in perspective, seeing it as a diversion, rather then a preoccupation. Besides, being somewhat conversant with Pro Football, gives me entrance into the lives of men.
But it seems that Pro football has invaded the male subculture to such a degree that some men find it to be their passion in life, becoming almost adolescent in their preoccupation, while neglecting adult responsibilities. When Judy and I travel I listen to sports talk radio. The sense of urgency expressed regarding sports reminds me of adolescent boys, being preoccupied with minor issues, while their real lives are put on hold till a later date. Men, sports can be a wonderful diversion, but it cannot become a major focus on our time and energy. A large sector of the American Male culture needs to grow up spiritually and emotionally.
I would like to offer a parody on the word “deflate” as it relates to the condition of a man’s soul. First, God will allow a man to be “deflated.” Men, you will have the wind knocked out of you, bringing you to your knees. I know this from personal experience. God used “church people” to knock a lot of “false spiritual air” out of my soul. A biblical word for deflate would be “crucify.” We read in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” It is when that “old false religious self” dies that Christ enters and brings life. Deflation first, then comes resurrection. Have you been deflated?
Secondly, to be deflated is to be emptied. This is good for our spiritual life, but very hard on the ego. The ego does not want to be diminished. Our ego works full time filling us with false images of a religious self. As we are emptied of self, we will become thirsty and hungry for God. Pay attention to your longing. The Psalmist cried out, “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Ps 84:2). Thirdly, only God can satisfy the deepest needs of the male soul. When we get emptied, God comes to fill us with his life. Paul prayed that we might come “to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19). Jesus tells us, “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). So, men, accept being “deflated” as a part of your journey.
Here something more on the parody. Remember the press conference when the coach had to give his take on the deflated football. Well, in the background in bold letters were the words “flexball.” That’s what God is after in our life; flexibility of heart and soul. He wants us deflated and emptied so that He can fill us with his Holy Spirit, who will continually be making us into who were meant to be. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezk. 36:26-27).