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Offensive Minded

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Offensive Minded

Written by Jamie Jenilek

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:34-40)

Different scenarios in a game warrant different strategies. When your team is up by a goal near the end of the game, or if you're killing a penalty, you'll typically be more defensive-minded. You won't take risks on 50/50 pucks, you'll dump the puck when you get a chance, and your primary objective is to make sure that the other team doesn't score. Conversely, there will be times where you'll be more offensive-minded; for example, when your team is down by a goal near the end of the game or if you're on the power play. These are the times when your team will look to take some more risks and be slightly more aggressive in an effort to score.

In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus says that the greatest commandments are to Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind, as well as to Love your neighbor as yourself. Similar to being offensive-minded in hockey, I personally see this as Jesus pushing us to be more offensive-minded as we live for Him. Sure, "playing defense" (avoiding sin) in our faith is very important, but I feel as if today's culture has pushed us to be almost entirely defensive where we completely forget to be offensive. What I mean by this is that we feel as if being a Christian means you can't watch, partake in, or say certain things - in other words, "Don't do". When I look at what Jesus says here in Matthew 22, I feel him challenging me to be more offensive-minded and to "Go, and do": Go love others sacrificially, putting their needs before yours, and actively look for ways to help friends and strangers throughout the day. When was the last time you complimented someone? When was the last time you listened to them and genuinely cared for the hurt and concerns in their life?

Love the Lord your God with every ounce of your being. Spend time with Him, study His word, worship Him, and love others because He loves others (even those who treat you poorly and don't like you!). If we start living with a more offensive mindset and doing these things, I feel like the "defensive" part of our faith will come much more naturally. We won't seek out the sinful habits that we try so hard to resist because we will be so immersed in actively loving others. Will you join me this week in challenging ourselves to be more offensive-minded? Let us not be content with simply living a day without sin, and push ourselves further to actively love Jesus and love others sacrificially. Jesus loves each of us so much that He sacrificed Himself for us - let's show others this love by loving them with our actions.

Discussion Questions

  1. Think of one friend and one "enemy" that you can love this week.
  2. What can you do to love them sacrificially?
  3. Will you be bold enough to take action?

Additional Reading

  1. John 13:34-35
  2. Matthew 28:18-20

About the Author

Jamie Jelinek is a former Division 1 Hockey player at Holy Cross who now works in Washington, DC. He has been involved with FCA Hockey for several years after serving as a camp counselor and starting the team hockey huddle at Holy Cross. Today he serves on the National Leadership Board of FCA Hockey.

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