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Friday, March 28, 2014

I can't dunk...

I can’t dunk a basketball.  

I’ve never had the thrill of being able to dunk a basketball.  Even in my younger, more athletic days… I’ve never been able to dunk a basketball.  Now, some of you will say, but Jim, “You’re tallish, youngish and athleticish… You’ve really never…”
True Dunking Greatness

I have never dunked a basketball on a regulation sized hoop.  I mean, who hasn’t dropped the rim down on one of these adjustable style rims… dropped it down to 7 feet like this one and dunked on that.  And for a few moments, we feel amazing. But we know that’s not reality.  

In real life, I am the epitome of “white men can’t jump.”  I have never dunked a basketball on a 10 foot rim.

Something dawned on me recently.  
I was talking to some students about the 10 commandments in the book of Exodus.  

I think when we think about the 10 commandments… “you shall not make an idol… you shall not steal… you shall not commit adultery…” I think when we think about those commandments, we think about them like dunking on a 10 foot rim.  We know that it’s really hard… and while most people can’t do it, there are a few people who can.  And those who can, are amazing.  Especially people who can do it with style. But we think, “If I work really, really hard and focus, maybe I can get there.”  

But most of us will never achieve that.  

The reality is: when we think about the 10 commandments… the rim isn’t 10 feet.  The rim is 100 feet!  

God commanded the people… “You shall not commit adultery.”  And we think, “No problem… I can do that.”  Then Jesus comes along and reminds us that… “If you look at a woman with lust, you’ve already committed adultery with her in your heart.”  (Matthew 5:28) Oops… 

God commanded the people… “You shall not murder.” And we think, “Okay, I’ve got this one. I haven’t killed anyone… ever”  Then Jesus comes along and reminds us that “if you are angry with your brother or sister, you are subject to judgement…” (Matthew 5:22)... Oops again... 

While we thought if we were really good, we could dunk on that rim.  Come to find out, it’s much, much higher than we thought.  And actually, that’s the idea.  God set the standard… the hoop… so high that only One could dunk on it.  

Listen to Paul in Romans 3:20… “Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law… rather through the law we come conscious of sin.”  The purpose of the law was to show us that we can’t achieve the goal… we can’t dunk… no matter how good or tall or athletic or skilled at kidding the commandments we are.  

Which is where Jesus comes in.  

Jesus is the only one who could dunk… who could achieve the goal… who could live the life.  

Listen to Paul just a few verses later in Romans 3:22 and following… This righteousness… is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.


Thankfully… while I can’t dunk… I know someone who can.  Through faith in Jesus, his death on the cross, his resurrection from the grave, I can be who God created me to be.