Richard and Jane stepped out the door with their tennis rackets and balls on their way to the tennis courts at the city park.  They pulled up in the parking lot close to the court and Jane playfully poked Richard with her tennis racket.  “Hey sweetie, you may have won last time, but this time I’m ready for you.”  Richard just laughed,  “I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back.”  Jane just smiled, little did Richard know how ready she was to win the game.  She winked at him, “Keep your eye on the ball.”

Richard and Jane hit a few practice balls before the game began in earnest.   Jane fell behind a point just as the ice cream truck pulled up.  Richard dropped his racket and headed towards the ice cream truck, frozen lemonade would hit the spot.  “Hey Jane, wait up just a moment would you?”  SMACK.  “Ouch!”  Richard grabbed his hitting arm and threw Jane a baleful look.  He continued to the ice cream truck and ordered his frozen lemonade and an ice cream cookie as well.  When he headed back to the court Jane was waiting for him.  While he had been indulging she had been practicing. 

Richard picked up his racket and rubbed his arm.  Ouch, he could see the beginnings of a bruise already.  What had she been thinking?  Jane was usually so sweet.  He glanced up to see a ball whiz past his face, missing his nose by a mere half inch.  He could feel the irritation rise up, he would show her.  He was ready for the next ball and skillfully hit it back making her run to keep up.  His arm began to throb but he would show her. 

Just as Richard gained another point he heard a voice hawking kettle corn.  Richard immediately craved kettle corn, it was a rare favorite treat.  He might as well get some as the kettle corn seller didn’t usually show up to the park on the days they played tennis.  He dropped his racket and began to jog over to the cart when he heard Jane call out,  “Giving up already?”  Just as he turned his head another ball hit him in his left eye.  He pretended to be ok and kept on walking to get his kettle corn.  He would settle with Jane later. 

He bought three large bags of kettle corn and put them in the car.  He walked back onto the court and picked up his racket.  He couldn’t see so well now, but he was more determined than ever to beat Jane.  The ball flew back and forth with Richard and Jane playing their best.  By now though Richard was at a disadvantage with his bruised arm and swollen eye and while he was slowing down Jane seemed to be picking up speed. 

He needed some refreshment and dropped his racket to get a Gatorade from the cooler they had brought with them.  Richard wasn’t sure why they had needed to bring their biggest cooler, they didn’t need to bring Gatorade for everyone at the park.  But, Jane had insisted so he had dutifully loaded it up and brought it.  Now he felt like he could drink every single one of them.  Just as he reached the cooler he felt a ball SMACK the back of his head.  He stumbled forward and fell into the cooler which opened and spilled all the partially melted ice on him fully drenching everything he was wearing and instantly transporting him to the Arctic.  He looked up through a haze and saw the ice cream truck driver and the kettle corn hawker standing by the edge of the court exchanging high fives with Jane. 

As Christians Christ takes our ragged robe while we get to wear His pristine robe.  While we wear Christs robe our actions are to represent His.  But, in the mean time, how many times a day do we discard the robe of Christ and take back our old rags?   In today’s story, Richard intends to win the tennis game, but he becomes easily distracted and tosses down his racket to gratify his desires at the moment (instant gratification).  Every time he wanders off he becomes injured.  In the same way every time we take off the robe of Christ to wander off and indulge our desires, sin will leave its mark on us.  Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “….let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 

Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.  Romans 13:14

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