Baseball legend Yogi Berra passed away on September 22, 2015 at the age of 90. As a member of the renowned New York Yankees in the 40s, 50s & early 60s, his storied career was punctuated by 14 trips to the World Series, 10 championship titles and 18 All-Star appearances. The Yankees retired his number in 1972, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame that same year. When his playing days ended after the World Series in 1963, Yogi transitioned into a lengthy career as coach and manager until he finally retired from baseball in 1989.
As a talented player and manager, Yogi Berra left an indelible impression on the game of baseball, but this lovable character is also remembered for interesting turns of phrase that became known as “Berra-isms”, mostly because they didn’t make a lot of sense at first glance! Here are a few of his more noteworthy gems…
“We made too many wrong mistakes.”
“Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”
“Pair up in threes.”
“If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
“I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.”
“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”
And then there’s this one:
“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”
You know, the math on that last one may not work out, but if you apply that concept to living a godly life, he might have been on to something! Meaning that a successful strategy to resisting the temptation of sin is centered mainly on how we think, because our actions will always follow what first goes through our minds. The apostle James made this connection for us when he clearly delineated the association between temptation, desire and sin. (James 1:13-16)
While the appeal to disobey God often begins with something outside of us, it’s when our internal desire grabs onto the object of temptation, contemplates it, then devises a strategy for possessing it that we’re succumb to sinful behavior. Instead of following this all too frequently traveled path, we would do well to remember Jesus’ own pattern for dealing with temptation demonstrated in Matthew 4. His repeated trust and dependence on the written Word of God (vs 4, 7, 10) reminds us of the paramount importance of filling our minds with scripture so that we can resist the tempter before we allow our minds to be corrupted by sinful desire that leads to selfish, immoral, unethical and/or dishonest actions.
So, if you need a catch phrase to help you in living a godly life, my own “Berra-ism” says –
Resisting temptation is 90% based on the Word of God; the other half is Scripture.