football practice

The Pastor’s Quill

By Pastor Tim Hodge
Nov 26, 2017


Psalms 5:12, NKJV – “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

When I was a kid I loved football (okay, a slight ‘addiction’ may be better terminology). I grew up in a rough little town. In a heartbeat, we would get a game of tackle football going in someone’s yard. When I say “tackle” I mean full speed, no pads, chipped teeth, black eyes, broken bones, blood, dislocated shoulders, and all. Fences were just obstacles to knock someone into. Patches of sandspurs just made the field narrower because we knew we’d better not go ‘over there’ running the ball because someone was crazy enough to go for the tackle ‘over there’. There was no “tag” or “flag football” for us. Even when I played flag football in my freshman year of college, I got a penalty for tackling a guy while pulling his flag (and it was a heck of a hit).

I didn’t play organized football until my freshman year of high school. That put me on the junior varsity team of the McColl High School Red Devils. For the initial couple of weeks of practice, the coaches had all the J.V. and varsity guys practicing together. When we started having contact drills the coaches would line all the freshman up against experienced upper classmen (the hard-hitting, experienced studs of the team) and let them knock the snot out of us. Maybe they were testing our metal.

One day some of us fresh-meat, I mean ‘freshmen’, were called out to a certain part of the field and we were handed these blocking pads. The pads were made of yellow leather with leather handles onto the back of them. They were around three feet long and two feet wide. I will refer to them as the ‘DUMMY PADS’ because we were about to be used like crash ‘dummies’. Like the other days, the coaches gathered the upper classmen into a group and gave them instructions.

This particular day, I vividly remember them looking at us and laughing among themselves. They were licking their chops and looking at us like we were the lambs to the slaughter. At the sound of the whistle, they would run full-speed at us. Our task was to ‘try’ to stay on our feet while getting killed; keeping our opponent engaged and not letting them get past us by using the ‘dummy pads’. This battle would continue until the coach blew the whistle again to stop the play. Some of us got knocked down from time to time. All of us got knocked around all the time.

After a while, I got fed up with being one of the sacrificial lambs of this drill. I was peeved. I looked up to see who was next to come at me and it was a senior who had played football many years, as had his older brother before him, and his dad before them. He was the guy in school who had the looks and the muscles. All the girls swooned when he was around. He was ‘Mr. Popular’ and he knew it. He looked me in the eye like he was ready to come in for the kill. The whistle sounded and from ten yards away ‘Mr. Popular’ began his assault – coming at me like a charging locomotive.

Something inside of me snapped. When ‘Mr. Popular’ zeroed in for the kill I lunged at him and with all my might I swung that dummy pad hitting him in the face and chest. His head and upper torso went backward while his feet went up in the air. He landed flat on his back – dazed. Everyone just froze. A freshman had just put ‘Mr. Popular’ on his back.

I came to the revelation my ‘dummy pad’ was not to be used defensively to hold my opponent at bay, but it was going to be an offensive tool. Instead of being the victim I was going to be the aggressor. No longer was I trying to block blows. I was delivering blows.

Back to our verse — Psalms 5:12, NKJV – “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” Favor is our shield. It is NOT a ‘dummy shield’. It is a supernatural force that surrounds us. Favor is offensive. God has no intention for those living the #BLESSEDlife to be in a defensive posture (living scared like they’re trying to keep the devil from ransacking their lives). On the contrary, those living the #BLESSEDlife are to be the aggressors in advancing the Kingdom of God in the earth. I want you to understand something: God will release favor upon the righteous to knock the snot out of the devil. Favor will break down barriers in our lives. Favor will lay our enemies flat on their backs and render them neutralized.

Favor is a by-product of the #BLESSEDlife and we are in it to win it – for the glory of GOD! FAVOR FOR THE WIN.