Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

June 4, 2017


What you believe about yourself really matters


       Baseball pitcher Orel Hershiser lacked confidence in himself until he started playing for Tommy Lasorda, then manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Orel tells the story in his book, Out of the Blue.

       Lasorda called Hershiser aside one day and got in his face. It was a life-changing moment. Shouting, Lasorda said, “You don’t believe in yourself! You’re scared to pitch in the big league! You’ve got good stuff. If you didn’t, I wouldn’t have hired you. I’ve seen guys come and go, son, and you’ve got it! Be aggressive. Be a bulldog out there. That’s going to be your new name: Bulldog. With that name, you’ll scare the batters to death! Starting today, I want you to believe you are the best pitcher in baseball. Look at that hitter and say, ‘There is no way you can ever hit me.’”

       Orel went on to become a great pitcher, winning 204 games in his career, earning the Cy Young Award in 1988 and named the MVP of the World Series that same year. He excelled not only because of his pitching skills but because he believed in himself. Lasorda inspired him to believe he could be a bulldog on the mound.

       What you believe about yourself makes a powerful difference. Some Christians, for example, think of themselves as poor sinners in a constant struggle to live like true followers of Jesus. Such believers are apt to say, with a warped sense of humility, “I am only a sinner saved by grace.”

       If you think of yourself as a poor sinner always struggling to do what is right, you will have misery for lunch every day. You will feel like a victim, whimpering and limping toward the goal line.

       But you have an alternative. You can start thinking of yourself the way God thinks of you. When you confess your sins and embrace Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you become a child of God. Your name is now recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. God has pardoned your sins, all your sins. You are forgiven. You have received God’s mercy. The eternal God has broken the chains of your sins and set you free. By the grace of God, you are a new person; you are no longer a “poor sinner”! 

       It gets even better. Instead of struggling all the time, you can think of yourself as “more than a conqueror” just like the Apostle Paul did. Like Paul, you can get so connected to Christ that you can feel his strength within you, giving you the power to resist the temptations of Satan. After all, God’s “gift” to Christ followers is the Holy Spirit, and means power is available to us, all the power we need to live victoriously.

       Tommy Lasorda gave Orel Hershiser a choice: start thinking of yourself as a bulldog or continue believing you are a frightened little Poodle on the mound. God offers us a choice: poor struggling sinner or a child of God filled with the power to do the will of God.

       The bottom line, then, is this: What you believe about yourself can be the difference between victory or defeat. + + +