My primary source of income is television sports directing. Soon I will head into another season of Major League Baseball with my beloved Texas Rangers. Reading the positive reports from spring training has me excited about this season. I picked up the paper today and found a Peanuts cartoon that hit the nail on the head on a couple of levels. Peanuts creator Charles Schultz loved the Lord and loved baseball. That should qualify him for sainthood in my scorebook.

This particular strip has Charlie Brown standing on the mound ready for the first game of spring. Charlie Brown loves baseball more than any character on the planet except my friend John Frost. Charlie raises his arms in triumphant joy and exclaims, “I love the start of baseball season.”

In the next panel he has a nostalgic smile and notes, “There’s a certain indescribable feeling in the air.” From rightfield Lucy decides to add her feelings about what is in the air: “Defeat!”

Isn’t that what most of us deal with from time to time? Or maybe all of the time. We feel excitement. We feel triumph. We feel optimism. And then that voice from rightfield tells us that defeat is certain. That voice can be programmed from childhood. Negative parents, teachers, coaches, siblings, friends (?), Christians (?) and assorted others have laid down tracks on our mix of negative thoughts. But another voice that believers hear is the voice of Satan.

One thing is certain as you follow Jesus. If you are doing something for the Lord you can count on hearing from the Enemy. I get letters and emails and stories nearly every day from heartbroken people in the church. It almost always starts out the same way. "I was serving Jesus and it was going great and then…"

  • ...another churchgoer did or said something.
  • ...someone took my place or took me out of my place.
  • ...I didn’t get appreciated or honored.
  • ...I was disappointed by someone or something.

Then the voice jumps in. And the voice starts telling you what you want to hear. That they should never have said that or did that if they were really a Christian. Or, you deserve that spot, not them. Or, how dare they take you from that position? Maybe the voice reminds you of how hard you work and no one cares. Or how others don’t work and you have to do it all and they still don’t care. That voice is not the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. That voice is the one yelling “Defeat!” from rightfield. That voice is the one robbing you of your joy in serving Jesus. Let’s be honest. If we are serving Christ to honor Him, we should be serving without expectation. Have I done that very well? No. Am I getting better? A little bit.

If I approach my service without expectation then it is about Him and not me. I am always ready to reverse the pronouns. If I offer to serve and I am not picked… praise God. He knows my heart and knows that I had an unselfish desire to serve. If my four decades of following Jesus have taught me anything it is that God will honor that spirit. Don’t let that “voice” ruin your walk with Jesus.

There is another voice. It is much softer and requires a lot more effort to hear. You have to slow down and be quiet and spend time in prayer and God’s Word. Casting Crowns has a great song called "The Voice of Truth" that describes this spiritual battle:

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
onto the crashing waves