“Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again?“ Jeremiah 7:9-10

The ball went down the first base line.  It wasn’t clear whether it would stay inbounds or turn out.  The batter and the third base runner each gave it all they had.

“Safe!” came the call from the umpire at home plate.

The home crowd went wild with celebration.  It was the winning score in game seven of the World Series.  The team fought long and hard for years to get there. They had overcome a world of obstacles, naysayers, and challenges to win it all.

This team had been losers for years, even to those who supposedly believed in them.  No one ever thought for a minute they’d make it to the World Series, much less win the World Series.

Now they had a new identity.  They were winners.

In the days that followed, the team basked in the glory, the parade, and the media hype.  But as the year progressed and the media hype diminished, the team began to forget the good habits and self-discipline by which they gained their victory.  They slipped back into sloppy habits and undisciplined ways and became losers again.

As Christians, we can sometimes be like this winning team.  We forget our identity as winners, as children of the King, as overcomers, and we backslide into old and familiar bad habits.

In the Holy Bible, Peter was a good picture of this, and an encouraging one.  Immediately following Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, the crowds that once followed Him and His disciples had disappeared.  Gone were the constant miracles.  Peter wasn't out fishing for men as Jesus had taught him.  He went back to what he thought he knew best:  fishing for fish.

But notice something.  Jesus doesn't leave him there.  After the resurrection, He meets Peter on the beach--the same beach where they originally met.  The scenario is the same as when they first met, too.  Peter and friends had been fishing all night and hadn't caught a thing.  Jesus tells the men to cast the net on the right side of the boat, and they cannot haul it in for all the fish!  Then, Jesus lovingly reminds Peter of his true identity and purpose, not a fisherman, but a fisher of men (read John 21). 

When we belong to Jesus, He never leaves us where He finds us, either.  He loves us too much to do that.  He reminds us that the only truly safe place is with Him, following Him, and the way we live is the evidence that we are His.

Luke 3:8 tells us, "Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’  That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones."

If we follow Jesus, we're on the winning team.  Let's prove it by the way we live.

Goodnight, Runners.