He was a baseball scout’s dream. Tall, lean, and with a highly-projectable arm on the mound. Throwing velocity with ease, he also mixed in two offspeed pitches that could be devastating.

But from the first time I met him, something seemed just off. From the first time I saw him pitch, something just didn’t seem right.

He should have gotten more hitters out, but he didn’t. He should have dominated, but he didn’t.

Over time, I saw it. He couldn’t get out of his own way.

Proverbs 5:22 puts it this way: “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held by the cords of his sin.”

My old teammate was extremely talented, but that’s where it ended. His own iniquities eventually cost him a chance at greatness.

You see, he really only sort of liked baseball. He liked it when it was easy. He liked it when he was better than everyone else. He liked it when he didn’t have to work at it.

He liked being good, but not doing the things it takes to be good.

That’s because he liked to party, to do what he wanted, to figure he was good enough on the field that everything off the field didn’t matter.

And eventually he couldn’t get out of his own way. His lack of hard work prevented that projectability from ever being more than just that. His desire for popularity and parties kept him out late, thereby rendering him useless at the next day’s practice. And on and on the story goes.

More tragic than baseball is when a person can’t get out of his own way in life. Sin will destroy us every time. We are stupid to think otherwise. And only Jesus can set us free from our sin; only he can get us out of our own way…by putting himself in our way.

Lord Jesus, get me out of the way. Take over. Live through me, on and off the field. Amen.