Creating Separation

March.

To some it means warmer weather, flowering trees, and emerging from a long, cold winter. To others it promises that the end of another school year is in view and the stress of term papers, science projects and finals will be over and done (for a while anyway). Others think of it as the beginning of daylight saving time and longer evenings filled with sunshine and all kinds of outdoor activities.

For me, March can only mean one thing:  Basketball!

Here in my adopted home of Georgia, the only collegiate sport that seems to draw much attention is football. Don’t misunderstand, I love football too, but in my native North Carolina, college basketball is in a whole different plane. While locally I might catch a few scores and highlights of the top 20 teams, or of the only two largest NCAA competitors in Georgia buried in the middle of a local sportscast, back home, basketball … ACC Basketball to be specific… is always the lead story!

ACC Tournament Champions  ~ Getty Images
ACC Tournament Champions
~ Getty Images

This is especially true around this time of year when the conference tournament has just wrapped up (Yay Tarheels!!) and are poised on the beginning of the big NCAA Tournament.

As I was catching up on what happened outside the ACC this weekend and watching some of the amazing moves and spectacular buzzer beating shots, I heard someone say something that caught my attention…

“Great athletes play in space.”

What he was referring to was the discipline known as “creating separation.” Simply put, separation is the gap between the ball handler and the defender which allows him to execute a pass or shot without the defender being able to get a hand on the ball. Remember, while it may appear to casual watchers that the team is just moving randomly around the court, the players are always working toward separation, aggressively striving to create physical distance between themselves and their opponent so they will be better positioned to make a high percentage shot.

I think, the concept of creating separation is a fantastic discipline for Christians to employ in their lives too. So often, believers move in the wrong direction and become so hemmed in, smothered by temptation or limited in their options that they can’t get free to act or worse, completely lose sight of the goal.

AP Images

Christians need to consciously move out into the open (toward righteous living) and away from the trap of selfish indulgence. Instead of getting double teamed by compromise and sin and backing away, we need free ourselves up and advance toward the goal of becoming like Christ. (Rom. 8:29) This demands that we be constantly vigilant to changing strategies, identify our weaknesses that can be exploited by our opponent (Satan) and be ready to take a time-out to regroup when we fall behind.  And in the times when we find ourselves facing fierce opposition and heavily guarded on all sides, it’s then we need to return to the basics and be well coached by the words of Paul: “keep away from youthful passions.” Actively move away from ungodly enticements to “pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace,” and work “in company with others (our teammates) who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Tim 2:22

Once we learn to create that separation between ourselves and those who will hinder (or do us harm), we’ll be better positioned to score in those key moments when the game is on the line.

basketball-hoop

15 thoughts on “Creating Separation

  1. Great analogy, Karen! We are basketball fans too! Rev is 6’6″ and our son is 7′. We are b-ball people. We’ve spent our anniversary every year watching the tournament and loving it! Thanks for giving us important truths from the disciplines of sports! Blessings and thanks for linking up at Faith ‘n Friends Blog Hop!

    1. Hey Deb, Glad to know another basketball fan! I always wonder how many people like the sports analogies, but I see lots of parallels about discipline, endurance, goals in the world of sports that easily apply to us as believers. Thanks for reading!

  2. A great analogy. Creating separation can be difficult at times, but as your piece reminds us, it’s definitely necessary for us to be better as a people. Thanks so much for sharing this with us on #shinebloghop. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  3. This is a great analogy, Karen. I’m not a basketball fan myself but this makes so much sense. Thanks for putting your own spin on this and making it so real. I’m inspired to create that distance that will help me stay faithful to God.

    1. Glad you took time to read even though basketball is not your cup of tea, but I thought the analogy was applicable to even those who aren’t fans! Appreciate your comments! Blessings Marva!

  4. Though I’m not a basketball fan, I understand the connections you make between Christian living and playing the game. It is easy to get too close to fleshly behavior that we loose sight to the goal. Well written and interesting post!

  5. Many great connections made here! I do well with visual learning and this is one way…making something stand tall because of a picture I can place in my mind.

    I have to tell you that one of my dearest friends here in south Texas is the great-granddaughter of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. My friend is six feet tall and has four children in their growth spurts, gaining on their mother and dad (who is 6’4″). She just went with her father to University of Kansas to present the Official Rules of Basketball (written by her great-grandfather) to the KU (now). She and her father were so very proud of such an opportunity.

    Sorry…a wee bit off topic but I just had to tell you!! : )

    1. Oh how cool! I love this story and am so glad you shared! With my love of basketball, antiques and history, I would love to see that some time! very neat! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Awesome Karen! Your truths are beautifully put and easy to identify. I loved this “This demands that we be constantly vigilant to changing strategies, identify our weaknesses that can be exploited by our opponent (Satan) and be ready to take a time-out to regroup when we fall behind. ” Discipline is a great tool in positing ourselves for taking the correct shot pleasing to our greatest coach (God). Well put and an excellent post. You nailed it! God bless you my friend.

    1. The New Testament has so much to say about living a disciplined life. Staying ‘in bounds’ according to scripture is the first requirement for being able to ‘score’ at all. Thanks for your thoughts!

  7. This is an incredible post with so much truth! I especially love “Christians need to consciously move out into the open (toward righteous living) and away from the trap of selfish indulgence.” So convicting! Glad to stop by from #TellHisStory.

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