I read this morning that 11 of the 12 footballs that the New England Patriots provided and used for the AFC championship game were under-inflated. Their QB Tom Brady is on record saying he prefers footballs that have less air in them because they are easier to grip. There are rules about how much air has to be in the footballs and the balls the Patriots used were illegal. As of yet, nothing has been released to indicate how this was done or what the consequences will be. 11 of 12 footballs seems to coincidental to be anything but cheating. Their coach was fined a half million dollars a few years ago for cheating by sending someone to film another team’s practice. I’m sure that every team tries to gain advantages in every way they can, but sometimes things cross the line.
Sometimes I feel like a cheater when it comes to Jesus and how other people see me and how I see myself. Each of us know all the things we’ve ever done wrong and still do wrong. Each of us knows all the thoughts we have that we shouldn’t have. We know the things we watch on television or at the movies that we shouldn’t watch. Satan is tempting us all the time. At one of the Sunday morning worships this past week I told the congregation that I don’t always feel like being in church, let alone preaching. But I can’t skip like they can. The truth is that sometimes I would skip church if I could. However, being that I’m the preacher I show up and I get up and preach when I’d rather not even be in church that particular Sunday. Can you imagine how hypocritical that feels? I feel like a cheater or a fraud.
Yet there are two awesome words that frequently come to mind. Those two words are “But God”.
- but God is faithful (1 Cor 10:13)
- but God had mercy on him (Phil 2:27)
- But God demonstrates His love toward us (Romans 5:8)
- but God is the strength of my heart (Psalm 73:26)
- but God delivered him (1 Samuel 23:14)
- but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20)
Whatever you know about yourself that nobody else does, know that He loves you no matter what. He loves you not because of how good or faithful you are, but because of how good and faithful He is. When you ask Him for forgiveness, scripture tells us that He is faithful to forgive us because Jesus paid for it all – all your sins and all of mine. And He knows everything. AW Tozer puts it this way:
…how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some bidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us.
He loves us even when Satan reminds us that we are indeed liars, cheaters, and frauds. His blood covered and covers it all and cleanses us when we ask. I want to end with a line from the song “How He Loves Us” from David Crowder Band – “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us.” Jesus knows you and loves you.