The Monday feature of the Worldly Saints blog focuses on a story from the sports world – current or historic. The goal is to recognize athletes who are using their sports and athletic abilities to further the kingdom of God or to show how some athletes or teams are wasting their days by not giving God the glory or to simply reflect on a story from the sports world from a Christian perspective.
The trend in the last decade or so in the sport of football (especially at the college level) has been for offenses to play a more up-tempo style.
For those of you who may not be football fans, this means that instead of huddling between each play, the offense runs another play as fast as they can after the previous play has ended. This strategy can often wear down or tire a defense, because the defense doesn’t have time to substitute the right players for certain circumstances. Up-tempo offenses don’t give defenses the opportunity to “regroup” in their own mini-huddles and strategize how they are going to stop the next play.
Up-tempo offenses are a fairly good tactic in today’s era of football and have helped programs like the Oregon Ducks and Texas Tech Red Raiders achieve new levels of success they hadn’t previously.
Well, one of the legal means of slowing down up-tempo offenses down has been a growing trend of defensive players faking injuries and lying down on the field. You see, whenever there is an injury, all play stops and the referees give the medical staff of either team all the time they need to attend to the injured player. No plays are run until the injured player is off the field.
And because any kind of injury in such a violent sport must be taken with all precautions, any player lying on the ground for any reason after the play is over is deemed injured and the offense is not allowed to proceed running their up-tempo offenses.
Like I said, defenses that want to slow down or disrupt the rhythm of these types of offenses are sending more and more players to pretend they are injured. More and more defensive players are pretending that they are hurt, teams will send their medical staff to attend to their injury, the players will fake a limp going off the field and they you will likely see him a few plays later, as if he was never hurt to begin with.
It is a trend that everyone knows is happening and the home team’s crowd often responds with “boo’s” when they detect or suspect it to. Example – watch this brief video from Saturday night’s OU football game where a defensive player actually signals a teammate to pretend he is injured.
This real-life situation is all about pretending. It is all about being someone (an injured player) that you are not. It is all about deceiving the referees and opposing players.
In Psalm 26:4, David says, “I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites.”
This is a difficult statement since it is almost impossible to not be around sinners. We are always around pretenders. The point is not one of association but companionship. You can be associated with pretenders; but they are not and never your companions. Paul says there can be no companionship or fellowship between light and darkness (II Cor 6:14).
As we live and work in this world, we have no choice but to associate with the ungodly, but we do not have to sit with them. To sit with others means to spend time with them, enjoying their company, relaxing, signaling our approval of them by our presence. Those whom we sit with affect our behavior. Though it was necessary for David to deal with deceitful men, he made sure not to sit with them.
David doesn’t want to learn from them and he has committed his life to not being influence by their wicked ways. He will not sit in their ways or go with them. This also sheds a little light on his humility, because he realizes companionship with them might result in his own compromise.
In his book, Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis makes this comment about this reality:
“Many people have a very strong desire to meet celebrated or ‘important’ people, including those whom they disapprove. … But I am inclined to think a Christian would be wise to avoid, where he decently can, any meeting with people who are bullies, lascivious, cruel, dishonest, spiteful and so forth. Not because we are ‘too good’ for them. In a sense because we are not good enough. We are not good enough to cope with all the temptations, nor clever enough to cope with all the problems, which an evening spent in such society produces.”
David was not good enough to resist them in his own strength; that is why he is doing everything he can to no walk with them.
Pretenders can be dangerous. They can affect your goals and your aspirations as a believer. They can slow down your progress and your rhythm of sanctification. Beware of them and don’t sit with them.
 Reflections on the Psalms, 71.