Ball-Control & The Pittsburgh Steelers 

Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Indianapolis Colts 21-18. The highly favored Colts were supposed to win it all after starting this year at 13-0. But the Pittsburgh Steelers used a combination of playoff experience, good playcalling, physical play, and a little bit of luck to beat the Colts on the road; thus advancing to the AFC Championship game this week against the Broncos. The Steelers have had remarkable success as a team under Coach Bill Cower because of his powerful running attack and their ball-control offense.

The theory of a ball control offense is simple. When a team throws an incomplete pass, the clock stops. But when a team runs the ball without going out of bounds, the clock keeps running. A ball-control team wants to use up the clock by running the ball most of the time. This not only keeps the clock moving, but the high number of run plays also has the added effect of wearing out the opposing defense.

The Steelers want to run the ball so much that the defense tires out. They take little pieces of yardage all the way down the field and score at the end, after using up a significant amount of the game clock in the process. A good ball-control team like the Steelers can take almost an entire quarter to score just once, leaving less time in the game for the opposing offense to score. The theory is simple: The longer you keep the other team's offense off the field, the less likely they are to score on your team. And it works. The Steelers knew that they did not have the offensive firepower to match up with the explosive Colts. But because the Steelers were able to control and use up the clock, the Colts were unable to get their offense going all game.

Did you know that there is a ball-control style offense in life as well? The Bible says that there is an opposing coach, Satan, whose goal it is to wreck as many people's lives as possible and keep them from knowing about God. But Satan is not that little red clown with horns in a red jump-suit you see in the cartoons. He has thousands of years of experience in tricking people, and his game plan very is full of deception and craftiness.

The enemy knows that he doesn't have to beat you if he can simply keep you busy. The enemy knows you have only 75-80 years to live, and if he can tie up much of your time doing trivial things, he can effectively run out the clock on your life and keep you from carrying out God's plans for you.

How often do you find yourself without any time? We get wrapped up in working long hours, running errands, doing yard work, shopping at the store, watching television, commuting on I-4. All of these things we keep ourselves busy with are meaningless, and we end up with no time left to do anything of value whatsoever.

We find ourselves with no time at all for family and friends. We have no time to sit down and reach out to that guy who is having a hard time. We skip church because we don't have time. We don't read the bible because we are too tired. We lose touch with old friends. All of this adds up to a wasted life: Our potential is lost because we have wasted all of our time.

I was reading the old testament and I found a very interesting verse. It talks about the only thing God actually asks you to do. Are you ready? It's easy!

Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

God's game plan for you is to defeat the enemy in his attempt to run out the clock of your life. You only have to do three things: Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. How cool is that?

So now that you have those three requirements out of the way… everything else is just gravy. To have success in your life, just is realize what is important: Don't get tied up with busy-ness. Make the most of your opportunities Use the gifts God gave you. Love on other people. Show mercy to someone even when they don't deserve it. Forgive others. Love your family. Love your friends. Enjoy success in life by spending time on the things that make a difference in people's lives, and above all… don't let the enemy run out your clock. Seize the day.

As we start this second half, think about this verse and apply it to your life both today and this week:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15

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