I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some college football. Fans have been building up anticipation for a year, teams have been practicing for months, and school spirit has once again come alive across our country. Because of that, we’re going to have a special “College Colors Day” at ABC. We are encouraging you to wear a football jersey or your favorite team’s colors at church this Sunday. It should be a fun morning of fellowship, and friendly banter, as we all showcase our college allegiance to one another.
I am always excited to welcome back college football, but I’m especially grateful for its’ return this year. As we all know, recent weeks have featured a constant flow of troubling headlines. From Haiti’s devastating earthquake to Hurricane Ida’s impact on Louisiana, to continued COVID challenges and the gut-wrenching events that transpired in Afghanistan, our world has not been short on bad news. Because of that, the good news of college football’s return seems to be a little extra refreshing this year. Nonetheless, college football’s return will not remove today’s cultural challenges. Saturday’s games will eventually come to end, our welcomed distraction will be over, and we will have to press on to face all of life’s problems next week.
Most Americans are struggling to figure out how to do that. It seems that most people are walking through today’s problems carrying heavy loads of anxiety, discontentment, and even rage. These past few weeks, I observed many troubling remarks from people across our country. I saw some make terrible insults about complete strangers, simply because they either do or do not wear a mask. I heard people propose the refusal of medical treatment for people who are sick with COVID, if they were not vaccinated. I read people’s comments wishing death and destruction to politicians they were angry with. I have personally seen hatred in people’s eyes for those who do not align with their personal political leanings. One could argue that we live in the most polarizing moment in our nation’s history, and sadly, I would contend love and kindness are in short supply. Jesus warned that this would happen before His triumphant return as He promised that, “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
I do believe the love of many has grown cold. People have tragically gotten comfortable with hatred, and many homes, businesses, classrooms, and neighborhoods have been divided as a devastating result. Fortunately, as believers we do not have to fall into the pattern of this world though. Jesus prayed that we would not when he requested from God, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21). Jesus prayed that His future followers would share a spirit of unity that others outside of the faith could see. He knew that the world would be divided and filled with darkness, but he also knew that our love for one another would stand out to those who are watching (John 13:35).
Christian love is meant to look different. Jesus gave us two essential directives that are both centered around this goal of love. He simply instructed us to love God and love others (Matthew 22:34-39). Obedience to these commandments is so paramount during these dark times. The love of many has indeed grown cold, but our love can remain as strong as ever. This is because Jesus Christ modeled His sacrificial love for us (Romans 5:6), He extended His everlasting love to us (Romans 8:39), and He put a spirit of love inside us to transform our lives. Paul reminds us, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control” (2 Timothy 1:7). I pray that others will see the power of God in you through the self-control of your words, and through the sincere love of your hearts. Love God and find ways to love others this week, because the world needs it more than ever.