Prior to the Wildcard playoffs during his rookie season, quarterback Russell Wilson was the subject of several newspaper and television features lauding his leadership ability. Wilson’s detailed approach to preparing for games included putting “cheat sheets” on his teammates’ chairs prior to their Monday morning team meetings following an away game the day before. Actions like these, teammates say, are why Wilson was instantly a team leader even though he was only 24 and a rookie.
While watching Wilson on the field both before and during games, his actions emphasized his leadership ability as he encouraged and motivated his teammates. Clearly, Wilson’s approach to preparation separated him as a player and leader in the NFL.
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. The Bible talks about Christians separating themselves in three aspects of life. We are to separate ourselves from:
- The World – 1 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 immediately 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 so he could excel when game time came, 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 provides 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. The Recabites show the importance of knowing your why and being ready with an answer. Daniel gives a great example of the value of a daily prayer habit. Joseph shows us that staying true to God holds significant long-term impact, and David lets us know pursuing God restores us after we mess up.
Many reflection questions resonate in my mind as I consider how I can personally amplify my separation from the world, from evil, and disobedience.
- Does what I read and watch honor God?
- 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, and words?
- Am I teachable?
- 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?
If we do nothing, we will not be separate; instead, we’ll find ourselves steeped in conformity to the world. Being separate is a deliberate choice to let our hearts and minds be continually renewed. It’s pursuing Jesus with a passion and letting the Holy Spirit guide and direct us. As we consider examples to follow, let us be sure to take the next step and look at our own lives and how we can make progress toward perfection by separating ourselves through preparation.