Like many of you men, I have watched “The Last Dance” on ESPN, chronicling the basketball career of Michael Jordan. It brought back many memories of watching those play off games. I have, however, been disappointed with the language allowed. I agree with those who say Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player who ever has played the game.
One of the sports writers in the Twin Cities, Jeff Day wondered if MJ was looking for acceptance in allowing his story to be filmed. He surely was one of the most competitive persons in all of sports. Maybe to competitive. “….for 22 years,” notes Day, “people have said that even if he left, he simply could not say goodbye – to the competitiveness, to the court, to the stability of the game.”
What caught my attention was a quote from MJ’s biographer: “Most people struggle to be present. People go and sit in ashrams for 20 years in India trying to be present. Do yoga. Meditate. Trying to get here, now…..Most people live in fear because we project the past into the future. Michael is a mystic. He was never anywhere else.” Day asks, “I had to wonder: He may have never been anywhere else, but did he ever get to leave.”
I have written about the being a mystic and learning to be in the present moment. It was truly amazing to see how focused MJ could be even when he played with food poisoning. Scottie Pipen thought of it “as turning on another switch.”
MJ, the mystic, was all about himself, while getting his teammates to buy in. He had the amazing ability to focus on the game. All his energy was directed towards winning. It was like being in a trance. The ultimate goal was conquest of the other team, irregardless of the cost to those around him.
But a biblical mysticism is very different. I believe it will rescue many men from despair and spiritual brokenness in the days to come. Remember “mystic is someone who is deeply in love with Jesus.” Its all about love. It is a matter of having a comfortable walk with Jesus. Jesus promised, “I will not leave you orphaned” (John 14:18)
First it is all about Jesus. It is a relationship based on God’s word, not the wishful thinking. We are to live in the present moment. The focus is Jesus, our faithful companion, who already lives within our hearts. At each moment we are aware of his presence with and in us. It is, “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” ( Col. 1:27).
Secondly, this relationship is a matter of surrender; not of control. In the presence of Jesus we surrender totally to his will for our lives. This is very difficult for men. We want to be in control our circumstances. “Letting go” will be essential in the days to come
Thirdly, we then are in a position to receive whatever God has for us. We are to be vulnerably open as a little child, as we learn to rest in the unconditional love of God for us in Christ. “….unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). There is no place for fear.
Fourthly, dwelling with Jesus, we can live in the present moment, where we find peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. (John 14:27). Giving the past and the future to Jesus, we can live in the present.
Remember biblical mysticism is always about an intimate relationship with Jesus.