UNPACK this... For March Madness Fans

Day 2 of 5 • This day’s reading


Free Throws Under Pressure  

Games during March Madness  are always intense as teams fight to continue playing in the NCAA Tournament.

One of the biggest factors deciding close games is free throw shooting. It’s difficult for players to be on the line with crazy fans cheering against them while the game's outcome is hanging in the balance with only seconds remaining.

In these moments, teammates and coaches count on free throw shooters to hit their shots to tie or win the game. Teams that have players who remain calm, block out the noise, and knock down the shots are the ones that usually end up winning.

We may not have the opportunity to make two clutch free throws in a big game, but we do face ongoing pressure in our lives such as being a great parent or spouse, making deadlines at work, or finishing projects we’ve committed to.

There’s also the ongoing financial pressure that comes from surprising bills, a job loss, or trying to keep up with a certain societal status. Some pressure is unavoidable because of serious circumstances, trials, and difficulties, but how we handle it is key to not being overwhelmed.

The Bible says in James 1:3-5 (MSG), “You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get His help…”

As we recognize the pressure we’re under, we can ask God to help us remain calm, block out the noise, and “knock down the shots.” We can also rely on God to give us wisdom and strength to embrace pressure, and accept that our faith is being revealed and tested through it.

Today, let’s be reminded that all pressure to perform or earn God’s grace was removed the day Jesus died on the cross and rose again…and is now replaced with peace.

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the freedom we find in Jesus. Forgive me for feeling undue pressure, and give me strength and wisdom to replace it with Your peace so my faith grows. In Jesus’ name, Amen.