I am a huge football fan. I have been a football fan all of my life. I would rather watch a bad football game on TV than most of the new shows coming out this television season. If it is football, I try to keep up with it. Professional, college, and high school football are all games that I like to keep up with. I also play in a fantasy football league. This is great because I can root for a player on even the worst or disliked team if I need him to score some points for my fantasy football team.

In the National Football League this year there has been an unusual occurrence that has been in great discussion over the first few weeks of the football season. The League and the Union that makes up the referees have not been able to settle on the terms of a new contract agreement. That means that the NFL has had to hire officials that have worked in smaller conference football games to be replacement referees for their games. For the most part this has worked, but there have been a few hiccups along the way. The officials have had some issues with separating the differences from the college rules to the pro rules at times. Also, after the first week of the season, it appears that the NFL teams researched and studied the officials during the first week and figured out that they could get by with some things on the new officials that the professional referees would have thrown flags on. So, in the second week, defenders decided that they could pretty well hold on to a receiver as he went down the field without getting a penalty called. Also, it was apparent that players would take some cheap shots right up to end of a blown whistle. I am sure that they will get better and the League will give them better instruction on interpreting the rules, but the media has seemed to take delight, as usual, in finding the controversial calls and harping nonstop on the issue.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

When it comes to how we live our lives are we letting God referee our daily walk? It is so easy to let a replacement official step onto our field and influence what we do. It really comes down to priority. We need to make sure that our priorities are set in the proper order for all of the areas of our life to function successfully.

Who are the replacement officials that cause us problems in keeping the proper priority? First, and probably the biggest culprit to having the proper priority is our own selfish self. It is extremely easy for us to set up our self as our own God or our own referee for our lives. We would rather trust our own judgment than to utilize God’s plan for our life. Unfortunately, the saying is usually true that “we are our own worst enemy.”

Second, our spouse can become a replacement referee in our life. This can be the case in any marriage, but we have an increasing number of passive men that are being dominated by their wife’s rule to the point that they are not given the opportunity to see God’s will for their life or marriage.

Third, our children can influence us in ways that we allow them to become a priority above God. As parents, we can sometimes try to make our children happy or be friends with them rather than provide the instruction and discipline that they may need most. Kid’s activities are now often infringing on church schedules and we are forced to have to make decisions about whether soccer practice or dance recitals should take precedence over church attendance.

Fourth, we can fall victim to letting our parents become replacement officials in our lives. It is easy to let a parent still have an influence in your decisions that place their priority above God. They still are your parents and you can still learn wisdom from them, but we need to make sure that we take their influence and weigh things in the proper priority.

Last, it is also easy for us to let our friends, coworkers, and media influence how we live our lives. We are constantly barraged all of the time with messages that unfortunately are not true. Messages that “we will be cooler”, “this is alright”, “everybody’s doing it”, “it’s going to be fun”, or “you’re going to miss out” are blasted endlessly until we start to fall victim to drinking the kool aid. We are lured by the idols of acceptance, enjoyment, and wanting to fit in. It is unfortunate that to have a standard, particularly a Biblical standard, one is met with calls of bigotry and narrow-mindedness. We now have a society where the minority 5% has the power to keep any religiously influenced activity out of schools for fear of the damage that might occur and we call it freedom and democracy. Local newscasters run around parading the one or two freaks as heroes while God is left looking through the school yard fence at our schools.

So, who are you letting control the action in your life? Are you using the ultimate Referee? Are you playing by the rules of the Bible? Does God occasionally have to throw a flag on you? Do you sometimes need to be penalized to get your focus back to where it should be? The stadium clock is running during each play and the end of the game is getting closer all of the time. When the clock read 0:00 are you going to be victorious?

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13