Pulling Your Own Flag

We enrolled the boys into a flag football league this year for the first time.  My reservations were confirmed when I was given a code of conduct, not for the players, but for the parents!  We were entering into uncharted waters, but the boys were thrilled about starting.

We have enjoyed watching the Bengals give their all each week.  While their record has not been stellar, my favorite part has been to watch my boys be in a losing situation and still having the time of their lives.  They have worked hard and I am so proud of them.

I want to tell you about one of the most hilarious moments all season.  One of my sons, who will remain nameless, caught a ball the other week and took off running.  He simply turned the jets on and created significant distance between himself and his pursuers.

As he neared the end zone, I rose from my seat cheering while anticipating a touchdown from his reception where he had covered the entire length of the field.  Unexpectedly, I see his flag fly up in the air near the end zone, and I am trying to determine from my vantage point who was even close enough to extend to such a length and grab his flag.  He was stopped at the 1-yard line.  The next play they ran it in for a touchdown, but I was still curious as to what happened.  One of the parents came up to me and explained what transpired.

No one was close enough to get his flag.  He accidentally knocked it out himself.

He was embarrassed by it, but I was so proud of his effort.  He was running so hard that the only person who could stop him was himself.

A Word of Warning

I have seen this scenario play out too often on the field of life.  People traveling at such a great speed with so much success, and the only person close enough to slow them down is themselves.  And yet it happens time and time again.  Too many people are pulling their own flags.

  1. If you think you are standing strong, be careful that you aren’t blind to a possible fall (1 Cor. 10:12).
  2. Pride is what comes right before destruction.  A haughty spirit always precedes a fall (Prov. 16:18).
  3. People who walk in crooked ways will always be found out (Prov. 10:9).
  4. Crooked ways are normally what destroys a person (Prov. 11:3).
  5. We are supposed to live honorably in front of people where our reputation matches our character (1 Pet. 2:12; 2 Cor. 8:21; 1 Pet. 3:16).
  6. Those who dwell with God are those who live with integrity (Ps. 15:1-2).
  7. If we lack obedience to our conviction, we deceive ourselves (James 1:22-25).
  8. Your war is often not with external forces but with internal forces (James 4:1).

You may be talented.  You may be smart.  You may be gifted.  But you might be at a place that your greatest enemy is yourself.  In fact, if you are not the problem, there is no solution.

While I have seen variations of this quote by many different people, I think I can summarize it like this:

Your talent can take you to a place where your character can’t keep you.

You may beyond the reach of everyone else grabbing your flag that the only person who can remove you from the game is you.  And that is the worst tragedy of them all.