Friday, October 22, 2010

Pass Interference

In the NFL, pass interference occurs when a defender makes contact with the receiver that prevents his opportunity to receive the ball. Some examples of pass interference include tripping, pushing, pulling or cutting in front of the receiver. Pass interference also includes pulling on the receiver's arms.

The penalty for pass interference is either an automatic first down for the opposing team, or it moves them ten yards closer to the end zone. As a Christian it’s possible to have pass interference affecting our lives. The Ten Commandments tell us to have no other gods, and to keep the Lord our top priority. Exodus 20:4 tells us that we shouldn’t have any idols. Whether they represent something on earth or some angelic being, they interfere with our worship of the Lord God Almighty. An example of this can be taken from the Apostle John.

Near the end of his life, John was sentenced to spend the rest of his days in exile. Refusing to call the emperor a god, John was sent to the island of Patmos. It’s during this time that he made five contributions to the bible. The Gospel of John; First, Second, and Third John; and the book of revelation all carry his name. After being shown all the events regarding the end of days, in the book of revelation John writes:

“I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”

Here we see that John wants to worship the one responsible for showing him this great revelation. As he starts to do so, the angel advises him not too. The angel deems himself unworthy of worship. In this admission, the angel shares his equality with John; a mere servant of God. He then reminds John of the decree in Exodus: the Lord shall be the sole proprietor of worship. If he continues with his worship of the angel, John will be running pass interference and subject to penalty.

These days, not too many people come into contact with angelic beings. So when we come across something like this in scripture it can be tough to relate to what John was going through. But there are many things that interfere with our worship of God. Money, fame, fortune, family, pride, anger, lust, trust (or lack of it), hate. These are just a few of the things that can make God a secondary priority in our lives; the list is endless. But as you look at your life, what are some things that could be interfering with your relationship to God? What could be preventing you from one hundred percent commitment to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

Some don’t read their bible everyday. This is something I personally struggle with. Reading my bible everyday is sometimes exhausting. I try to read a chapter a day, but some chapters are incredibly long. In those cases I break it down to five or 10 verses a day. You can also listen to the bible online. So sometimes I listen to it. A friend of mine doesn’t have the discipline to read chapters of his bible each day. Instead he will come across a passage quoted by authors or pastors; then spend some time reading and reflecting how it relates to his own life.

Maybe the struggle is with finances and giving. Every time they pass the plate around at church, you refuse. You know the bible talks about giving and that you should give financially to the church, but you live paycheck to paycheck sometimes using the local food bank to fill your cupboards. Did you also know that God wants you to test Him with your giving? Malachi 3:10 says:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Malachi 3:10 NLT

I have a friend who traveled the world on a year long mission trip. Before she left, I told her I would support her with my monthly tithe. It wasn’t always easy giving up ten percent of my income. There were times that I considered using that money on other things like birthday gifts or putting it toward my debts. I was hesitant but I still gave.

During those times, I held God to the promise that if I gave He would look after me. Sometimes I would even quote the words from Malachi and wait to see how He would provide for groceries or my debts. God came through with that promise. My neighbors would stop by offering me food they didn’t want or couldn’t have due to dietary restrictions. Other times my fridge would be empty, yet my freezer was so full I was able to give food to those in need.

At the end of the month my bank account had a little bit of money left over. Sometimes it would be three dollars and other times fifteen. Regardless of the amount in the bank, at the end of the month I had a little left to spare. If this is one area you find yourself lacking, I urge you to test God as Malachi encourages us too.

Pass interference can also interrupt our worship of God through a lack of prayer. James 4:2 says: “…you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” The unique thing about our God is that He can do the impossible. He is the one giving us the strength to face our problems and help us as we go through trials. He is the one guiding us in all that we do. But the help and guidance He offers is pointless if we don’t spend time in prayer. Prayer is how God knows about our needs and problems.

I don’t know what interferes with your relationship with God, but we all have things that prevent our opportunities to worship God. Going back to our example of a football player being called for pass interference, I turn it over to you. Think of some ways God is being tripped, pushed, pulled or cut from the worship you ought to give Him. Once you’ve done that begin working with someone to eliminate those things from your life. The person you work with could be anyone. It could be a pastor, close friend, or even a family member.

Share with them how you’re on a journey to better your relationship with God and need to work on some things that have been getting in the way. Ask them to keep you accountable by checking in once in a while to see what progress you’re making. Over time things will get better. As they do, be sure to share the success you’re having and throw a little celebration after each success. This will make it more fun and seem less daunting. Be blessed my friend. As you begin the journey remember these words from Jesus:

Don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matt 6:31-34 NLT


  1. I have a good friend Tim Bits who would love this article simply for your tie in with football. In his opinion every message should be linked with football! Is that "interference"? :)

    I ask half joking and half seriously, partly because I struggle with what you are meaning by worship here in your post. In the instance of my friend I acknowledge that it is not necessarily healthy in our relationship with God to link everything he is in our life to a part of one single subject or context. At the same time should we not experience worship (in the sense of an acknowledgment to his presence) in every aspect of our lives; including our passions such as football?

    Worship is more complex and yet simpler then just reading our Bible. Yes, we need to spend time with the "Book" and yet, God's voice can be heard in so many other places if we are simply willing to acknowledge the connective realities of our lives and the "Book". Some times we need to get up off our chairs (some times not ;)) and get out into the real world where there is grief, struggles, joy, and passionate pursuits! This is where we will encounter the presence of Christ and where his voice will encounter us!

    If we pin worship and the presence of God solely on reading our Bible, then in short it will be our reading itself which becomes the interference. Lest we forget John 1:14, "And the Word become flesh and dwelt among us."

    I guess what I'm trying to say Tim is; it doesn't matter whether we read our Bibles every day or just every week or some other variation. What is important is... Do we hear what it has to say or just simply read it?

  2. Erik,

    In short, AGREED! I agree whole heartily with you. People should get out of their seats and stretch their legs among the world. having their ears tuned to God's activity with the world and its people. Doing so allows us to see that God is living, active and still caring about our world. Another byproduct of walking with people through their struggles and passionate pursuits or what have you is 1, we get to be a part of their story, and see the Lord's grace and mercy at work.

    I too agree that worship encompasses more then just reading the good book. If I had to describe worship in one sentence, it would be extremely limiting but I would describe it as responding the God's voice and activity in our lives.

    God's voice and activity could enter our lives in a number of ways. Conversations with friends (or enemies), a book we read a song on the radio, the people we encounter or even a recent memory. One of the keys to worship is responding or reacting to this.

    And please do share this post with your friend the grid iron fanatic. It would be great to get his response to what I wrote.