Up until this past year, if someone would have said to me , “Hey Reed what are your thoughts on Game of Zones?” I probably would have looked at him or her with an air of incredulousness. My response probably would have been, “Yea I think Jim Boeheim and the Orange have an incredibly great defense every year, so what?” (Author’s note: Jim Boeheim is the head men’s basketball coach at Syracuse University where the defensive scheme is always some type of zone as opposed to man-to-man.) Upon actually looking into the YouTube episodes for myself, I came to realize that as a rabid NBA fan I absolutely loved the product that was being put forth!
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a situation where I was confronted by a few family members on a sometimes controversial topic in Christian circles—namely the inerrant nature of scripture. A cousin of mine made a statement saying it was okay for a professing Christian to be leading a lifestyle whereby he or she actively attempts to be in a state of drunkenness as much as humanly possible. Almost instantaneously a two-hour-long spirited debate arose at our Fourth of July dinner table over whether or not the preceding statement had any merit to it whatsoever. The group was divided, and the conversation eventually fizzled out as both sides felt their respective position had come out on top.
The question then became: what was Christ trying to show my family members and I through our conversation concerning drunkenness? Was it that my cousin should consider switching majors in order to become a lawyer after raising challenging points? Or rather, was the deeper issue simply that attempting to be drunk should always be avoided no matter what the circumstances?
Friends, throughout that conversation, Christ showed me an even greater need. As human beings, we have all been in situations where the truth is evident and often times glaring, but we twist and bend scripture to meet our primitive, sinful desires. Believe me, I can unfortunately point to a number of instances in my own life where I have abused the plain yet profound truth of scripture in order to meet my own sins and shortcomings. Without writing a dissertation on my feelings towards drinking in order to become drunk, look at the lives of the Pharisees with me for a brief moment.
In Matthew 12, Jesus is seen “breaking” the law during the traditional Sabbath day of rest. According to the Pharisees (religious leaders during Jesus’ day), a man could not even pick grain out of his own field in order to feed his family on the Sabbath, lest he suffer the wrath of the Almighty. Yet Jesus does exactly this right at the beginning of the passage. Furthermore, Christ heals a shriveled man’s hand in full view of the Jewish teachers of the law in what was seen as a clear challenge (see verses 9-13).
All of their studies and accumulated knowledge led the Pharisees to a place where scripture was clearly being twisted to the benefit of those holding the power. If people were unwilling to pick up bread from the grocery store on Sunday afternoon for that evening’s dinner simply because pastors across the country said it was Biblically unfounded to do so, I daresay we would find that strange. But Christ defied the conventional wisdom and allowed the healing and grain harvesting to take place because He understood the clear intent of the law, as He says in verse 12, “Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Thank goodness that we have the perfect example of Christ to follow when dealing with moments of weakness regarding the true teachings of scripture!
So, when it comes down to it, I enjoy watching the latest week’s episode of Game of Zones because I know it’s merely a distortion of the actual show—Game of Thrones—meant to appease a crazed professional basketball fan like myself. While this does not lead me into direct sin, it serves as a reminder that when I misinterpret God’s Word, I run the risk of finding myself in a place of complete and utter justification of sinful behavior. So, how to combat this deception? Careful reading, a repentant heart, and the never changing nature of God’s perfect and holy Word.
John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
Revelation 21:5-6a “He [Jesus] who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.’
Thank goodness that we have the perfect example of Christ to follow when dealing with moments of weakness regarding the true teachings of scripture!