Separation Is In the Preparation

Rookie Wisdom

Prior to the Wildcard playoffs, Seattle Seahawks’ rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was the subject of several newspaper and television features lauding his leadership ability. While being interviewed, Wilson’s verbalized his philosophy:

1-11-13 separationThese features went on to describe Wilson’s detailed approach to preparing for games, citing a specific story about how he put “cheat sheets” on his teammates’ chairs prior to their Monday morning team meeting following an away game the day before. Actions like these, teammates say, are why Wilson has become a team leader even though he’s only 24 and in his rookie season in the NFL.

And while watching Wilson on the field before and during both before and during games, his actions emphasized his leadership ability as he encouraged and motivated his teammates. Clearly, Wilson’s approach to preparation has separated him as a player and leader in the NFL.

Biblical Principle

As Christians, we are called to separate ourselves too. Just as Wilson has separated himself from being an average football player, we too should seek to separate ourselves from blending in with the world around us. Specifically, the Bible talks about Christians separating themselves in three aspects of life. We are to separate ourselves from:

The World1 John 2:15-17 encourages us to love the things of God instead of the things of this world, and Romans 12:2 encourages separation by not conforming and by letting our minds be renewed.

False Teachers – In Romans 16:17-18, we receive warning to avoid those who deceptively preach anything contradicting God’s Word, and Deuteronomy 13:1-3 indicates deliberately and consistently choosing God above all others.

Disobedient Christians – According to Matthew 18:15-17, while we are not to instantly avoid fellowship with disobedient Christians, we must do so when every effort to persuade them from wrong receives rejection.

Separation through Preparation

Just as Wilson deliberately prepares himself as a football player thus allowing him to excel when game time comes, we too must prepare to separate ourselves as Christians in order to excel in glorifying God.

Wilson’s preparation comes through viewing game tapes, analyzing opposing players, creating a plan for the next game, and making sure he’s in top physical and mental condition. A Christian’s preparation – and maintenance – for separation comes through establishing Godly habits, keeping short accounts, taking thoughts captive, having firm convictions and refusing to conform.

Examples to Follow

Russell Wilson seems to provide a terrific example for other football players as well as athletes in general to follow.

Scripture gives Christians numerous examples of the importance of preparing ourselves to become and remain separate. Examples include the Recabites, Daniel, Joseph and even David. The Recabites show the importance of knowing your why and being ready with an answer. Daniel gives a great example of the value of the habit of daily prayer. Joseph shows us that staying true to God holds significant long-term impact. And David lets us know that even when we mess up, pursuing God restores us to our separated (holy) state.

AMPLIFY: Many questions resonate in my mind as I consider how I can personally amplify my separation from the world, from evil and from disobedience. Does what I read and watch honor God? Are the video games my kids playing harmful to their minds? Am I too busy, overloaded and stressed? Do I over-plan and miss God’s plan way too often? Am I preoccupied with money? Do I explore alternative teachings? Am I too open-minded? Do I justify my attitudes, actions & words? Am I unteachable? Am I creating my own reality in order to continue doing what I want? Do I avoid conflict? Do I get caught up in comparing myself to others?

DISCUSSION: Can you think of additional examples, biblical or otherwise, of someone implementing the principle of “separation is in the preparation”? In addition to what we’ve already mentioned, how else does the Bible tell us to live separately?

Related Posts:

How to… Take Every Thought Captive, Part I

How to… Take Every Thought Captive, Part II

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10 thoughts on “Separation Is In the Preparation

  1. Kari,
    A couple of things I am thinking: First I have to separate myself from my own bad habits and the sins that I so often allow to rule me. I am truly my own worst enemy. To do so takes discipline and investing in items to separate myself from those items. Second I have to separate myself from my emotions at times. I have to prepare to not let them rule when the ruling would cause set backs. I have to prepare to act instead of react.

    • Terrific points, Mark! Our own bad habits and our emotions absolutely derail us from being separate from the world. As we walk more closely with Jesus, we start seeing bad habits fall away and be replaced by ones that honor Him. We see our emotions being put in their proper place as guides and indicators instead of in control and driving us. We have to make choices that let Him rule instead of our bad habits and emotions. In doing so, we are also preparing to act instead of react.

  2. This is a difficult issue. Because we're called to be in the world, not of the world. One the one hand, I can understand separating ourselves from non-believers. But on the other hand, we need to be salt and light.
    As I've thought about it, I think it really comes down to the maturity of the believer. We need to be vigilant to make sure we're not being corrupted. And the more mature we are, the more we can spend time in the world and not be of it.

    • Yes, it can be a challenging issue. We need Holy Spirit discernment, that's for sure. We are definitely called to be in the world and not of it, but I also believe that there are times we need to protect ourselves more than others. No matter how "seasoned" and "strong" you are, you need to make sure and get around people that build you up. No matter the maturity, we need to be cautious. Be light and salt, but protect yourself and get recharged too. Get fed often. Some people can spend more time in the world and not be of it, but NO ONE is immune to being pulled down by it. Great point, Loren.

  3. Kari, Wilson was a UW Badger before he became a Seahawk. SO I have watched him for a couple of years. He was a great leader there, in a community where partying is the standard. One thing, one moment, one step at a time. We are Jesus said to be IN the world, but not of it. Yes, that is a challenge. I tried the can't beat them join them at one point in my life. Total disaster. Reminds me of the prodigal son. Thank goodness for the loving Father! Philippians 4:13!

    • Cool knowing this has been developing in him for a while now. He's certainly impressed me. I hope he remains a great example for kids you are watching him closely as well as for the rest of us developing leaders. As Loren said, we need to remain vigilant so as to not give in or be pulled in and become part of the world.

  4. One of the problems I have noted lately is the tendency of some Christians to separate from pride. I remember a neighbor with a son my son's age coming over for the first time and being horrified that my son liked Pokemon. She avoided me like the plague after that. I honestly feel that if Pokemon is sinful, her unkindness and pride were even more so.

    • Terrific example Melanie. Pride is a huge issue, and, unfortunately bigger in the church than in the world sometimes. This truly perplexes me since it is so contrary to Jesus’ teachings and life.

  5. I like Loren's comment. Sometimes separation leads to more separation, even within a Faith community. Sometimes separation is essential. We need to guard ourselves, but be willing to open up and share with and walk among others. As for the Seahawks, I'm from WA State. I'm proud of this year's team efforts.

    • Ah, there's that challenge of balance coming in again. and it's definitely worth noting, that balance varies from person to person as well as fluctuates within an individual's life too. "Above all, guard your heart," but at the same time "Love others." I am looking forward to watching Wilson's career for sure! I have my favorite teams, but I also like to single out individual players to watch too.

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