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Following the Rules

Over the years, athletes, coaches and teams have had honors, records and even championships stripped from them because they cheated. On the playing field or court, they were victorious, but it was later discovered that they didn't recruit or play by the rules.

They were punished -- and deservedly so.

For me, the University of Michigan men's basketball team in the early 1990's stands out. Nicknamed the "Fab Five," a group of five freshmen took college basketball landscape by storm, with their baggy shorts, black shoes and black socks. As a young kid, the "Fab Five" introduced a new level of "coolness" when playing basketball. However, most of their records were vacated after it was determined some of them accepted large amounts of money.

It's a reminder of what Paul tells Timothy in II Tim. 2:5: "And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules."

Earlier in that same epistle to Timothy, Paul says in 1:13 to "hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus."

If we defect from those "sound words," we will lose our reward (II John 8).

To be effective and productive in our service to God, it requires a singleness of purpose. Faithful Christians will receive that "imperishable crown" in I Cor. 9:25 -- if we follow the rules. Our lives must be conducted within the authority of the inspired Word of God (II Tim. 3:16). We do not need any other source, other than the "one faith" (Eph. 4:5).

Is the Bible your go-to source in how you live your life?

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