Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Once when I was watching a tennis match the commentator expressed the view that one of the competitors not only wanted to win the point but wanted to “look good” while he did it. His opponent, however, who eventually won, was more desperate. He was prepared to improvise, scramble and do whatever it took to get the ball back. The commentator used the expression “playing ugly” to describe his winning tactics.

I wonder if as Christians we’re more interested in “looking good” than we are in being desperate about the things of God. Perhaps we’re reluctant to join a study group because we are embarrassed to pray out loud. Or God is calling us to lead a group but we’re afraid we will look incompetent if we don’t have all the answers. Maybe we’re struggling with emotional problems and would benefit from talking to a counsellor or mentor. However, we’re afraid our reputation will suffer if we admit to having a problem.

If we’re going to grow spiritually and expand the kingdom of God here on earth, we “play ugly.” Jesus described it as hungering and thirsting for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). Hunger and thirst are good motivators towards physical food and water, likewise, we spiritually hunger and thirst for those things which will help us grow us more like Jesus.

Let’s “play ugly” and be more desperate about winning points for the Kingdom of God and less concerned about the opinion of others and “looking good” in their eyes.

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