My Daddy Taught Me About Jesus and Pass Interference
New Britain, Connecticut in the spring of 1859, Leverett Camp and Ellen Sophia Cornwell Camp gave birth to Walter Camp. Walter camp grew up playing rugby, a British sport, while he attended Yale University. He was a renowned rugby player in his time. During his time playing rugby, Camp developed notable changes to the game and now we have American football. There were several different interference rules in place at this time but in 1936 the rule was amended to read “If on a forward pass that has crossed the line of scrimmage, ineligible players who have crossed (the) line (of scrimmage) obstruct the right of way or view of opponents or if they are in advance of the spot where the pass becomes completed, incomplete or intercepted, it is interference.” The rule was later added to include an automatic first down as a penalty for interference in 1953. Rules for football changed every few years and still change even today.
I love college football. I grew up watching it every Saturday no matter who was playing. My daddy taught me to yell “ROLL TIDE ROLL!” as loud as I could while my mother was hoping I would grow up to be an Auburn fan (my brother did by the way). I grew up, got married (to an Alabama fan) and had children of my own. My children watch football with their dad and me every Saturday and we have taught them to say those three beautiful words “ROLL TIDE ROLL!”. There may be a few of you reading this devotion and do not have a clue about football. It is fine. You do not have to watch, love or even understand football to receive this word from God. Here are a few things you need to know first.
Pass Interference is a foul that occurs when a player interferes with an eligible receiver’s (the person attempting to catch the football) ability to make a fair attempt to catch a forward pass.
Forward pass is throwing the football in the direction that the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team's goal line.
Line of Scrimmage is the imaginary line separating the teams at the beginning of the play.
A pass interreference is called when a pass is thrown from behind the line scrimmage resulting in an automatic first down. There are four downs (plays) in each possession of the football they have. In other words, they have four attempts to get the ball to the defensive team’s goal line (end zone). There are chances to have more than four downs. You must pass or run the football at least ten yards. If you reach at least ten yards it is another first down. If you do not make it ten yards or more it will be counted as a down and you will go to the second, the third, then the fourth and then the opposing team gets a turn.
Now we have established a short lesson in football, let us see what this has to do with Biblical principles. What does Jesus have to do with football?
My daddy didn’t only teach me about football. He was a Godly man; a pastor. Yes, I am a PK. My daddy taught me about salvation, sanctification, and the Holy Spirit. My daddy taught me about God, Jesus and Heaven and about Satan, demons, and Hell. My daddy taught me that there is a spiritual war being faught and I need to be ready to fight. My daddy taught me that God is on my side.
Ephesians 6:12 says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”. We are in a spiritual fight but not with the people around us, even though it may seem that way every day. Satan and his demons are fighting God’s people. He is out there ready to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).
Just like the game of football, spiritual war rules change every few years. Satan is constantly changing his tactics hoping to achieve the result he has always wanted; self-worship. We deal with issues today that our grandparents or even our parents did not have to deal with. The rules have changed and we must be ready.
Our fight is sometimes, played like a football game. God is our quarterback (play caller) and He is throwing the ball (advances in the Kingdom, opportunities to minister, praying, fasting, authority in Christ, miracles, etc.) to us. We are running to receive it and the enemy comes out from nowhere and a pass interference is called. That is what he does. That is what he is trying to do. Stop us from reaching his side; his end zone. If we reach his end zone then we score points and the more we attack him and get through his defenses, the more we score points and eventually win.
There are three things we have to do first before we score the points.
1. Get on your uniform (Ephesians 6: 13-17). Every player must wear the uniform before they step foot on the field. Even the teammates that never make a single play. We have to be ready at all times in case God calls on the field to play.
President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to end the game of football in 1906 because the game had become too brutal and there were many football related deaths in 1905. But it wasn’t until 1920 when safety modifications were made to the uniform of the football player. Helmets were introduced and were widely used for all players by this time. Still many injuries occurred because these helmets were made of leather. In 1939, the first plastic helmets were developed. This would protect from head injuries which would lead to fewer to no deaths. Even with helmets, pads, and all the ever-changing rules, players still get hurt; but uniforms are important and will protect you.
We must have the full armor of God at all times. Just like football, spiritual war is a contact sport. There will be bruising and injuries. There will be opposition. You cannot be afraid of getting hurt. Every football player knows the risks yet they get out there every single time and play with all their strength knowing they could get hurt at any moment.
2. We enter into a huddle before the play/down. We discuss our plans for the play; who goes where and where the ball is to be thrown. It is a team effort. Everyone has their role to play in order to accomplish the victory. We have to break the huddle. We stay in the huddle to long. Football has a play clock. You have to snap the ball and execute the play before the timer runs out or you are penalized but moving backwards five yards. This means you are five yards further from your goal. We have to break the huddle in order for us to reach the next step.
3. We must execute the play. We have to run the ball or catch the ball after it is thrown in order to advance and score. We must know the play and trust the people God has put in our path to help us accomplish this goal. We have to have each other's backs; blocking and tackling the enemy when he comes to tackle the one with the ball. We need to stop talking about each other and getting mad at another person’s anointing or success at making touchdowns. Instead let us help each other reach the end zone.
See, if you never put on the uniform, you cannot form the huddle and if you do not break the huddle, you can never execute the play, and therefore can never win the game.
I understand that it gets frustrating to be in the middle of doing something that God has called you to do only to be tackled while you are advancing or never even get a good catch because the enemy has interfered/attacked you with sickness, confusion, fear and/or doubt. You get hurt. You get bruised. You tear a muscle. You feel beat up and broken. But you get back up to complete another play. God is our strength. We are fighting to advance the Kingdom. That’s why we need to surround ourselves with accountability partners; people who will pray for us and encourage us (work out with us).
One question in conclusion. Do you want to be the one dressed in uniform but never makes a play? That person is part of the team and they will get the National Championship ring even though they never played, but he didn’t fight to obtain it. Same, as a Christian, you will see Heaven and Jesus. But what hell did you take down on your way; what points did you put up on the scoreboard? My pastor always says that it is one thing to be known in Heaven but another thing to be known in hell. He wants hell to get scared when he wakes up for the day. He says he hopes demons write his name on the white board of hell and say “oh no, he’s up”. I want Satan to be scared of me. Acts 19:13-15 talks about the sons of Scevia. “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” Ouch! Jesus, I know and Paul, I know, but WHO ARE YOU? Even if you do not know much about football you have probably heard of Tom Brady. People know who Tom Brady is. They do not know the name of the fifth string cornerback. I want hell to know my name and say Oh No! Charlotte Millican is awake!!
I am ready to break the huddle and execute the play. Will you be on my team?