Don’t give up the fight

Published 8:58 pm Friday, February 10, 2017

By Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

Last Sunday the New England Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in the history of the Super Bowl.

It was amazing. It was one of the greatest moments in the history of sports. And this sports fan almost missed it.

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Why? Because I almost turned the TV off before the final quarter began! The Patriots were down 28-3 and it looked like a blowout. They were making tons of mistakes, and just not playing well at all.

There was no sign they could even make it a close game, let alone win it.

Think about these odds: Since 2001, 394 teams have been down at least 25 points after three quarters. Their collective record is 3-391.

Logically, I had good reason to call it a night and hit the “off” button on the remote. But then things started getting interesting.

How the Patriots pulled off this comeback contains lessons for all of us about the game of life.

  • First, they didn’t give up. Most teams would have. Down 28-3 with three-fourths of the game over? C’mon. It would have been so easy just to “mail it in.” But the Patriots kept fighting. They were determined to finish strong.

In 2 Timothy 4:7, the Apostle Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Many times in life, we are tempted to quit on worthy endeavors. We are tempted to despair, to give up. Don’t do it.

  • Second, they were in excellent shape. Every time the Patriots got the ball in the final quarter, they drove right down the field on Atlanta’s defense, which looked like it was running on fumes.

But the Patriots still had tons of energy to burn, obviously. Why? It was their conditioning.

No one models this better than the Patriots’ superstar quarterback, Tom Brady. Brady is 39, well past retirement age for the typical NFL player. Yet he looks “fresh as a fiddle.” How? It’s because of how he takes care of his body.

How are you taking care of your body? If you are a Christian, the Bible says your body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

It’s important to take care of the bodies God gave us, and not abuse them with bad habits or neglect them with poor nutrition and lack of exercise.

Even more important, it’s vital to work out your soul by spending time with God in prayer, Bible study and a good church family.

  • Third, they have excellent leaders. The Patriots are led by arguably the greatest coach in NFL history and the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

Leadership is vital. The best Leader for life is Jesus. Put your hand in His, and let Him lead the way.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

  • Finally, remember this: No matter how many mistakes you’ve made in life, you can come back with God’s help. He’s all about grace for people who appear to be failing miserably. Jesus died and rose again, so that new beginnings are possible.

Don’t look back — look to Jesus.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.