Putting Some Skin in the Game

A friend turned a phrase in one of her blog posts earlier this year that struck a chord with me. She wrote about putting skin on the hands and feet of Jesus when referring to her participation in a women’s prison ministry event. I hadn’t heard it put quite that way before. Her words helped me see how what we do in Christ’s name helps make Him more real to others who don’t yet walk with Him each day.

I’ve heard and used the phrase skin in the game many times, but I never thought about its deeper meaning. I’ve always considered the phrase to mean “If you’re not invested in the cause, then your opinion shouldn’t matter that much. For most of my life, right or wrong, that’s how I saw things. My friend’s post caused me to search for a better understanding.

I searched different sites for a definitive explanation and perhaps the origin of the statement. The definition I’ve come up with is “Having skin in the game is to incur risk (financial, safety, reputation, or other) by being involved in achieving a goal.”

Next, I focused my attention on the word game. While I’ve never thought the cause of Christ to be a game, the Collins English Dictionary gave me pause to consider. One of their definitions for game, when used as a noun, is “any test of skill, courage, or endurance.” That did it for me, as I believe we need all three to be successful witnesses for Christ. My thoughts came full circle and I found a deeper understanding of my friends words. When we are witnesses for the cause of Christ; when we show His love, mercy, and grace in this world, we put “skin on the hands and feet of Jesus.”

How much skin do you put in the game? Click To Tweet

I thought more about my Christian game, my witness for Christ, and how much have I invested in His cause. More than some? Perhaps. Less than others? Certainly. I considered Christ’s original twelve apostles. Of them, ten were crucified or martyred for the cause of Christ. Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ, hung himself. John (often described as the beloved apostle) died a natural death.

It saddened me as I thought of others who have undergone much persecution and even death because of their Christianity. Then, as I was praying through it, I realized this was not what I was called for. While I may one day be asked to become a martyr for Christ, I believe I am called to be His witness. We all are.

Whatever role we are called to serve, as writers, speakers, visitation team member, Sunday school teacher, or pastor all require three key things. Serving Christ requires skill, courage, and endurance. Skill comes in many forms. We can learn to become more effective writers, leaders, and speakers, but the skill I think most needed is becoming well-grounded in God’s word. Much more than knowing scripture, we must apply it to our lives to become effective servants. When I think on this, the words of 2 Timothy 2:15 come to mind. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (NKJV)

Being a witness for Christ requires great personal courage. Many Christians today are afraid to speak out about their beliefs because the secular world around us tries to silence Christians. We are told we must accept other religions and customs, but when we stand on the truth of God’s word, we are labelled bigots, zealots, and racist xenophobes. Courage doesn’t imply we must get in people’s faces and try to shout louder than they do. It means to stand firm in what you believe in. To not give ground on what you know to be true and right.

Words that have long ringed true for me were spoken by Moses when he announced Joshua as the new leader of Israel in Deuteronomy 31:6. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Being a Christian today, as it always has, requires endurance. When I think on persevering, on endurance, I can’t help but think of the Apostle Paul. First Corinthians 9:24 is one verse I hold close in my life. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” How can we think on this verse and not think of his words in 2 Timothy 4:7 when he wroteI have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Oh how I pray I’m able to speak these words as I lay this life down for eternity.

What are you willing to risk to further the cause of Christ? Click To Tweet

Yes; being a Christian today requires us to put some skin in the game. To serve God and be the witness for Christ in this world His children are called to be, we must be willing to risk it all so we might gain it all. My prayer for each of you today is that we’ll one day stand together before our Judge and hold our heads high; knowing we took the risk and met the challenges of overcoming this world through Christ.

God’s blessings,

22 thoughts on “Putting Some Skin in the Game

  1. J.D., your well-crafted post spoke volumes to me this morning. The words “the skill I think most needed is becoming well-grounded in God’s word” reminded me of the centrality of Scripture in a believer’s life. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Ms. Jeannie! I couldn’t agree more ma’am. God’s Word is the foundation of our faith we must stand on. His promises, direction, and encouragement is what gives us the strength to stand and defend ourselves against the world my friend. God’s blessings ma’am.

  2. One of the things you’ll find ‘in the moment’, in a ‘God Moment’, as you share Jesus, is that you’re not alone. Last week as Leann and I shared Jesus with a very anxious man, the aura of our Lord enveloped around us, such a feeling of a shield of faith, to push back darkness, so that man could see and hear, and amen for that.

    1. Amen my friend. When we share Christ faithfully, people see that. I too believe they do because the Holy Spirit is working in their lives to support our efforts. It’s not our place to save people with our testimony and witness, but we must do these things to give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to convict them. I like it to “tearing down the walls with faith.” If we remove the barriers for someone, then we allow God to perform His miraculous work. Being a farmer, as we all are for Christ I pray, our job is to simply plant the seed. He brings the increase.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Melissa. May I assure you ma’am; people see Christ in your life by the words you write and speak, and by the way you live your life ma’am. Am so blessed to call you my dear friend also. God’s blessings ma’am; and keep on showing Christ in your life!

  3. What a wonderful message, my friend! You’ve inspired us spiritually and physically to “put some skin in the game.” We’ve all heard of the saying, but the imagery you’ve shown and the scripture presented shows us that we all can do it. Thanks especially for the prayer. It makes all the difference.

    1. My goodness! Thank you for such kind words Ms. Katherine. Am glad you enjoyed my meager offering. And thank you also for your prayers also ma’am. You get what you give my friend.

  4. Diligent is the word that stands out for me in this post. To become good at anything, we have to practice — whether it’s a game of sport, writing, driving (ever taught a teen to drive?), or being a witness for Christ.

    Your post reminds me I must practice diligence in my pursuit to serve Him.

    1. Thanks Ms. Candyce. “Diligent” is the perfect word to describe how we should approach our faith ma’am. We must be on constant lookout for opportunities to both share and defend our faith with others. Well said ma’am. Thank you so much for contributing to our conversation.

  5. I have understood the phrase to mean just the thing you researched, but have never put it in the context of serving Christ. It defines it well. In the climate of our society right now, we need the boldness of the believers in the early church. Our testimony will only become more difficult to reach the unsaved. Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. God bless!

    1. What kind thoughts Ms. Cherie. Thank you so much ma’am. I agree that it becomes more and more difficult to share our faith with the world today, but I also believe it is more important than perhaps ever before. For me personally, I’ve had a real burden to see my family members and dear friends saved this year. I’m convinced that time is running out for the world. God’s blessings ma’am, as you endeavor to share your faith with the world around you.

  6. Being a Christian is a lot more than sitting in the pew on Sunday morning. We must put our faith into action. In today’s world people require tangible evidence. I have often used the phrase, “Jesus with skin on” referring to our actions as the hands and feet of Christ. I remember hearing Jill Briscoe speak years ago when she said, “sometimes we are the only Jesus they see.” Sharing the gospel verbally is important. Living the gospel is critical. Another thought provoking post, J.D. Well done.

    1. “We must put our faith into action.” Could there be a more wise and inspiring comment than this? Thank you for sharing your heart for God with us Ms. Gerry. We must indeed be bold in our efforts to show the light of Christ in this darkened world. Part of what I hope came across in my post was that as frightening as it might be these days to talk about our God publicly, this is exactly the time we need to do so. God will be our security blanket, and will have our backs as we do. I’m so honored to stand beside you and praise our coming King in word and though ma’am. God’s blessings.

  7. Good morning J.D. I lovd the way you give us relatable examples to see our place in His family. Yes, we need endurance. For some, their homes or places of work are riddled with the devil’s schemes. Endurance so we keep surrendering so that we may one day gain all. Have a blessed day on the farm. I am headed for a much-needed hike with Jason today.

    1. Thank you Ms. Julie. They (our homes and workplaces) sure are filled with Satan’s snares sometimes. I like to think our job as Christians is to “shine light into the darkness of the world.” It’s in the darkness that Satan’s grip most affects people. I like you perspective on how we need endurance to keep finding the strength to surrender to God each day. To give over our will for His does require strength and endurance doesn’t it ma’am. Hope you and Mr. Jason enjoy your hike ma’am. God’s blessings…

    1. Romans 12:1 is a great verse to go with this Ms. Jeanne. Thank you! And thank you so much for sharing your kind words with us. For me, I can’t thank of Romans 12:1, without the second verse, because it seems my body (in service to God) has to follow my mind. If I’ve got my mind on God, then it’s much easier to do the work He’s called us for. 🙂 Prayers that new grandson of yours is doing well.

  8. “Much more than knowing scripture, we must apply it to our lives to become effective servants.” Love this, J.D. Great post!

    1. Thanks so much Ms. LuAnn. I think God responds more when He sees our living His word than when He only hears us quoting it. So glad you picked up on that my friend. God’s blessings.

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