"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
I was a young high school assistant coach tasked with creating the scouting report against the best team in the region. Our program was on the rise, but we still needed to notch a marque win verses a higher ranked opponent. Our next game was our first chance to show area teams that we were for real and it was my job to let our team know how to stop and attack the best team in the region. So, I set about watching film and looking for tendencies.
I also received a certain gift as I developed my scouting report. Another coach contacted me and said, "I have a gift for you." And then they sent me our opponent's FULL PLAYBOOK. "Where'd you get this," I asked. He replied, "From no one. I've been scouting them all year and this is what I've discovered." I was amazed that he had put in that much work, excited that there was so much detail in the scouting report, and thankful that he'd made my job easier.
I still watched tape on our upcoming team to make sure that I agreed with what the other coach had given me. I did agree with that coach, made a few slight adjustments, and set out creating a practice plan that would prepare our team to exploit the other team's tendencies. We had a great two days of practice leading up to the game and our team spent a significant amount of team studying the other team's playbook. Our staff was both nervous and excited. We felt we had a chance to beat the best team in the region.
Every time the opposing team's coach called a play, our girls were extremely prepared. They were so prepared that they would beat the opposing team's players to their offensive spots. I will always remember one play where a girl from the opposing team made a basket cut, but our power forward jumped to the exact spot of the cut, and stole the pass as if she was the offensive player who was supposed to receive it. She "beat the player to the spot" and disrupted the offense. We scored off that turnover and went on to beat the best team in the region by 15. It was a great night for our program!
Scripture tells us to study to show ourselves approved by correctly handling the word of truth. The only way we can correctly handle the word of truth is by studying God's playbook like our team and the other coach studied our opponent's playbook. When we study God's playbook, we know how to attack the opponent.
I think of how Jesus confronted his opponent, Satan, in the wilderness. Every time Satan tried to tempt Jesus, Jesus quoted Scriptural truth back to Satan. How different would our lives be if every time we were confronted by evil and temptation, we were able to "correctly handle the word of truth" in that moment of temptation? What if God's playbook truly became the lamp to our feet and a light to our path, guiding our way through life?
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Hardinsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.