What we can learn from Peyton Manning’s record good and bad day

This past Sunday, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning completed a short pass. With that short completed pass, he leapfrogged Brett Farve for the most passing yards by any quarterback in NFL history. At some level, it would have been a day to remember for the rest of his life. The play stopped, there was a brief pause in the action for celebration. He stood on top of the world for a brief moment.

Then the game resumed, and so did the interceptions. In the third quarter, after his 4th interception, this Hall of Fame quarterback, the most prolific quarterback ever, got benched. I honestly don’t think this had ever happened to him. Ever. I don’t know how he looked as a Pop Warner quarterback, but since his father played in the NFL, as does his younger brother Eli, I imagine he came out of the womb throwing.

Can you imagine how humbling that might be? Setting the record, solidifying your legacy as one of the best, and then getting benched the same game, half-way through the third quarter.

The high’s and low’s of one’s career in a matter of minutes.

This reminds me of the frustrating process of sanctification. One minute you seemed to really “get grace,” displaying calmness in the storm, courage when you normally would have back down, discernment after someone came to you for counsel. And then the next moment, you lost your cool with a kid, customer, co-worker, gave someone a dirty look who tailgated you, acted on your envy or jealousy through gossip, ignored an opportunity to talk about the gospel. From all time great, to all time dud. And very quickly I might add…

Romans 7 describes Paul’s Peyton Manning experience. I think we can all relate.

Romans 7:21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;
23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
25 Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Thankfully, Romans 8 comes after 7. Not just chronologically, but redemptively.
Romans 8: 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Through my religious performance, I deserve the bench. Through Jesus performance for me, I get to stay on the field. Amen. Perhaps that is why I’m pulling for him to finish the season strong.
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