MLB star Josh Hamilton is a hero to many, perplexing to some, and a villain to others. You can read his incredible story here: The Fragile Brilliance of Josh Hamilton. There are a few things that stood out to me in the article:
- I was very surprised how many times the words “Holy Spirit” “Jesus”“prayer” and “Bible” were used in a Sports Illustrated article.
- I was reminded how incredibly talented Josh is – there are maybe 10 major league players who could not play an inning for 3 years and come back to become one of the best players in the game.
- I realized how fragile our faith can be.
Josh’s journey is not a typical one; full of highlights and low points after growing up in a Christian home:
1999 – 1st overall pick in the MLB draft and signed for $4M
2003 – Kicked out of baseball for substance abuse
2005 – Burnt through the $4M and “bartered her wedding ring for cocaine”
2005 – “After he bottomed out at his grandmother’s home, Josh gave his life over to Christ”
2008 – Wins the HR Derby
2009 – Has a very public relapse
2010 – Wins American League MVP award
2011 – A young father dies after falling out of the stands from trying to catch a ball Josh threw to him.
2012 – Has a very public relapse then has one of the best starts to a season in major league history.
In both relapse instances Josh admits that he stopped praying for some time. He describes the process as “a slow fade that leads up to them (relapses).” And is from a person who when he is praying and in the Word has “a near-constant interior dialogue with the Holy Spirit.”
My men’s group just started studying Romans and in chapter 1:18 – 28 Paul describes the natural progression of sin:
- “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires,”
- “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.”
- “…he gave them over to a depraved mind,”
As my group discussed, this progression is a slippery slope and it all starts with drifting away from the Lord and letting our sinful flesh takeover rather than relying on the Holy Spirit.
So whether it is the slow fade that Josh describes or slippery slope we all have to be careful and guard against falling away from the Lord. If we are not growing closer to the Lord we are by default drifting away and it is our human nature to drift away – not many of us wake up each morning with a craving to spend time on our knees and in the Word.
But our faith is so fragile and while our sins may not be as public as Josh Hamilton’s we can’t afford to drift away – we need to be intentional each and every day.
I read a great quote this week about how we need to live: “Live in daily victory by having your mind stayed on God – full of the Word and led by the Holy Spirit.” And the only way to be led by the Spirit is to get on our knees and pray for God’s help to listen to the Spirit and not live by the flesh.
Romans 15: 13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
In His Service,
Related verses: 1 Thessalonians 1:5
Related posts: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?