Do You Have A Game Plan?

The story of Johnny Manziel is a cautionary tale of what happens when you try to please everyone and find yourself completely unprepared for the consequences of your actions. Manziel grew up the son of Millionaire Paul Manziel and his wife Michelle. Johnny was a high school football phenom in the state of Texas. As a Jr, he threw for 2,903 yards, 1,544 yards rushing, and had 55 touchdowns. He followed that up his senior year with 3,609 yards passing, 1,674 yards rushing, and an astonishing 77 combined touchdowns for the season. He was considered by many to be unstoppable, and most times, he was just “wingin it.” He was the only quarterback in America named a Parade All-American his senior year, and he was also named The National High School Coaches Association Senior Athlete of the Year in football. Following his senior season, Manziel won the prestigious Mr. Texas Football Award in 2010.

College was more of the same. As a redshirt freshman, Manziel broke numerous SEC offensive records on his way 3,706 yards passing, 1,410 yards rushing, and 47 touchdowns. That was good enough to make him the second-ever Texas A&M Aggie to win the Heisman Trophy; the most prestigious award in college football. His next season saw similar stats, but word started getting around about Johnny’s vices. He loved his alcohol, and he loved his marijuana. More recently on the Club Shay Shay Podcast with Shannon Sharpe, Manziel has admitted to being drunk most of the week while he was in college and getting sober just in time for games. He was typically just “winging it.” That party-boy lifestyle would soon catch up with him.

In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Johnny “Football”, as he’d become known, with the 22nd pick of the first round. It wasn’t long after that pick that he got back into the swing of being the party boy throughout the week. He didn’t study the playbook the way he should have, and, when he finally got in the game, he looked lost. He had no game plan. He was just “winging it.” He had nothing set in place to help bring him and his team success. Instead, his lack of planning led to a shortened career mired in addiction, deception, and a lack of personal motivation. 

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:1–3

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

A comment I hear from a lot of people when it comes to getting deeper into scripture is, “I just can’t find the time,” or “I don’t know where to start.” Those comments shouldn’t be funny to me, but I really just find them funny. When we become parents, we get online, watch videos, read books, or talk to people who have been parents for years to get advice and wisdom. As homeowners, we’ll do the research to find out what it takes to take care of a home. Even with shopping, we’ll go out of our way to find coupons and deals before we head out to the store. When it comes to scripture, though, we just throw our hands up in defeat. When a situation arises where knowing scripture would be valuable, we falter because we have no game plan. 

When I bought the car that is now my wife’s vehicle, I went into the dealership knowing what car I wanted and what price I would pay. I had good credit, so I wasn’t worried about the loan. I just didn’t want to be taken to the cleaners. As I talked to the salesman, he went to the back to discuss with his finance person what I was wanting. While he was in the back, I called my wife and told her, very specifically, to say, “That’s too much. Let’s go.” regardless of the price that the salesman gave us. Rhea did her part and we left with a car that fit our needs and our price. We had a plan and that plan benefitted our needs.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
Psalm 119:105–107

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:3

All throughout the Bible we see that the Word of God is necessary for survival. Scripture is light, life-giving, and food for our souls. Without it, we won’t make it in this world. We need to view the word of God like we do air or water. If we go too long without it, we’ll die spiritually, and if that’s the case, we need a plan in place to get our sustenance. In today’s world, we have more information at our fingertips than at any time in human history. Do you want to know how to fix a car? There are instructional videos for that. Do you want to make the perfect pecan pie? There are 100 recipes online. Try them all. Pick the best one. Do you want to crochet a beanie for your cat? Go to this web address:  (this is a real thing)

If you are struggling to understand God’s Word as you are memorizing scripture, find one of the ministers at your church and schedule a time to meet with them to get answers to your questions. Are you struggling to figure out where to start? Check out the YouVersion app and read one of the hundreds of reading plans there. If you just want a list of key memory verses to memorize, there are dozens of websites that will give you list after list of verses you can memorize. 

Don’t go into the game of life without a game plan. Study, read, memorize. A true disciple finds their life in the Word of God. Don’t be the Johnny Football of discipleship. Don’t just “wing it.”

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!
Psalm 119:9–12

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