I’ve never met a baseball player yet who wants to be lifted for a pinch hitter. We all think we’re good enough to get the job done, no matter what we’ve done or not done in the past. The hitter with past failure believes it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out. The hitter on a hot streak thinks there’s no way it can end.
So, no matter which side of that you’re on, you hate it when the manager/coach decides someone else is better suited for the job than you. You get mad. You throw things. You talk behind the coach’s back. You think he’s picking on you. And so on.
I think we’re the same in life. We don’t like to admit that we can’t do it, even when our past reveals otherwise. Because some of us have been so successful (according to whatever measure you may choose), we don’t see why that won’t just continue. The problem is that we’re measuring ourselves with the wrong metrics.
Most of us simply compare ourselves to the people around us, figuring that if we’re “better” than most, we have nothing to worry about.
Difficult reality: God doesn’t compare you to the people around you. He compares you to him.
Good luck trying to be “better” in that case.
Picture yourself now walking to the plate. It’s time to finally realize that you have no chance against what is coming from the mound. Like a fastball that breaks your bat every time, your sin overshadows anything “good” you may think you have done. And, since your comparison is God himself, one sin is enough to overwhelm you.
I can picture myself there, having no chance. It’s a miserable feeling. I’m scared and defeated. I know I can’t win. I’m a sinner, and I know it. That’s when I start looking to the dugout for help.
What we find in the Scripture is that help indeed arrived from the dugout, but not in the form of someone like me, who also has no chance. Help arrived in the form of God himself, who left heaven, took on humanity in the form of Jesus Christ, and then loved me enough to take my place in the batter’s box.
And taking my place cost him everything. He gave up heavenly glory. He gave up the continual worship of the angels and creation. And he stepped into my batter’s box, one filled with difficulty and shame.
It was on the cross that, in perceived failure, he won it all for me. His death, though looked upon as defeat, opened the door to victory for me. Honestly, all I deserved was to stand in the batter’s box and take my punishment and live in my shame.
I couldn’t win, so he won for me. Because he lived the perfect life I couldn’t live, God accepted his death as payment for my sin. Because he died, I don’t have to be punished for my sin. Because he didn’t stay dead, I can receive true life, his life, a resurrected life. Because he lives in and through me, even though I still swing and miss, the game is already won.
This Good Friday, will you finally admit that there’s nothing “good” about you, not when you’re compared to God himself? Will you look to the help he provided? Will you believe the truth about Jesus? Will you get out of the box and let him take over? Will you receive the free gift he’s offered? Will you repent, believe, and surrender?
Lord Jesus, I’m finally admitting that I can’t do it. I’m no good, not compared to you. I need your love and forgiveness. I’m laying down my life and I want yours instead. Please save me from myself. Thank you for taking my place, for being the pinch-hitter I so desperately needed. Change me today. I love you. Amen.