Small enough that my fingers could still form two white knuckled death-grips around the bright orange shag carpet in our living room, my eyes dried out almost completely, securely fastening my pupils to the bright blur of one man on the other side of the television screen. He seemed faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive and he was suited up in superhero-like armor of “Honolulu blue,” with the number 20 coating his front and back. He wasn’t Superman. He was Sanders—Barry Sanders. Shorter in stature than most he stood shoulders above the rest.
Watching Barry Sanders twist opponents into knots and embarrass the elite of the most elite professional athletes you just knew you were witnessing something… more. Something more real, more purposeful, more skillful, artful, meaningful, and some kind of new standard. There was just something more about this kind of football player. Something more about this kind of athlete altogether. Watching this guy was more than witnessing the new gold standard. He was football. The only way one could describe him was with the only word that comes to mind as accurate: Truth.
Mysteriously there just aren’t words to get to the bottom of what Barry Sanders was to football. When Barry Sanders played football for the Lions hope for the game and for the win just never died. You know why? He, himself was the pride of the Lions. He was hope!
Nevertheless, he is but a whitening shadow of our one true hope and Colossians 1:27 solidifies this for me. It has become my breath prayer when worries begin to creep into my mind. While Matthew 6 brings Jesus’ reassuring words about the needlessness of worry and of the provision of God for life, Colossians 1:27 has given us the weapon to combat worry practically by meeting my repeated negative worrisome thoughts with the truth of scripture. Matthew 6 = Theology. Colossians 1:27 = Practice. “The answer to this is Christ in me— the hope of glory.” The truth of who Christ is will send any fear running as long as I keep those worries from climbing back into my head. And the trick seems to be staying out of the way of the truth.
At the age I was when he played, all I wanted to do when Barry played was jump up and show my dad I could imitate the moves of the superstar Running Back. I tried so hard but couldn’t measure up, of course. My dad and brother and sister all reminded me with one phrase that became their mantra back then: “AARON! You make a better door than a window,” they’d say. The phrase is a humorous idiom that reminds us of when we are blocking the light or blocking someone’s true view. And as much as I wanted to be Barry Sanders I knew I never would be. And my family did, too. I know deep down that I am not the example to follow or the one that anyone else in the room should follow but I can be a better door than a window… and perhaps both to be an avenue by which Christ and His Spirit can enter into the lives of others.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’
The greatest thing we can do as believers is two-fold:
- Be a better door and open up wide to allow the Spirit of God to enter your heart;
- Be a better window and don’t stand in the way of the light that of the Spirit that keeps us securely in
Be a better door. Be a better window.