The term “I’ve got this” has become shorthand in our culture for “no worries, I can handle this, no problem”. If you ever saw the 2010 movie, “Knight and Day” you recognize that bon mot. Diaz plays June Havens, a classic car restorer who unwittingly gets caught up with the eccentric secret agent Roy Miller, played by Cruise, who is on the run from the CIA. At first, it is the super-agent telling June, “I’ve got this” whenever they find themselves in a dicey situation. Later in the movie, it is June rescuing Roy and repeating the mantra, “I’ve got this”.
ESPN has a series of shows they call 30/30 documentaries. These are very well done sports documentaries that usually deal with stories, issues, and personalities that delve into the historical side of the great sports stories of the last 30 or so years.
One of these documentaries is about Todd Marinovich. Marinovich was born to play quarterback…literally. He was trained by his father from birth to be a quarterback in the NFL. His life from birth to college was regimented for maximum advancement to that task whether that was sleep patterns, diet, or social agendas. His father drove him, nurtured him, trained him daily…and, as it turned out…ruined him.
You see along with all that training his father taught him that he was the master of his own fate, that he could handle anything, and that he was at the center of his own universe. So, when he went away to college and was for the first time out from under the minute by minute control of his father, he was arrogant enough to think that no problem was too big for him. After all, all he had ever know was success, so both history and his father had taught him that he could conquer anything. But there was at least one problem he could not overcome.
He went to University of Southern California, like Michigan, a traditional football power. He became a freshman starter and a star. But by his sophomore year, he had gotten into drug use and his erratic and immature behavior had cost him the favor of the head coach leading to a now famous show down on the sidelines between the star and the coach during a Bowl Game. The star lost…perhaps for the first time in his life. But he was already losing a much more serious battle.
He decided to leave school and enter the draft for the NFL. Before he could get drafted he was arrested for drugs. And while the NFL did finally draft him, he became one of the biggest “busts” in the history of the league.
During the documentary he spoke of why he did not respond to the recovery programs to which he was sent. He revealed the arrogance that was his doom. Basically he said, “I’ve got this” indicating that he was supremely self confident to overcome this little bump in the road. He said he was not like these other losers in “recovery” and that he had the ability without their help to overcome this enemy just like he had overcome everything else in his life. But sadly, he was wrong. His arrogance was his downfall.
As I read the book of Joshua, I am reminded of Todd Marinovich. You see, Israel had just crossed into the Promised Land and had defeated the major walled city of Jericho (you know the account). The next town in line to be conquered was Ai…a small insignificant town. Thus, the leadership of Israel determined that they would not send their whole army but just a small division of about 3,000 men to wipe them out. In essence they said, “We’ve got this”. But disaster followed with Ai putting to flight the men of Israel. Their arrogance led them to presume that victory would be theirs with very little effort. It is a mistake many of us make. We assume victory in our spiritual lives will be a matter of “I’ve got this”.
What Joshua did not know is that a man named Achan had disobeyed the command of God that all the spoil from Jericho would be devoted to the Lord. Instead he kept for himself and his family some gold, silver, and precious cloths of fabric and hid it in his tent. It was this sin that, coupled with the arrogance of the leaders, led to the defeat…the first defeat that Israel had ever encountered.
We can never take an “I’ve got this” attitude with sin. We cannot handle sin. We cannot control sin. We cannot assume victory over it. We cannot be so spiritually arrogant as to think that “I can dabble in sin and still have the power to defeat it whenever I finally decide to do so.” We cannot have self confidence in our own power to overcome sin in our lives.
What Todd Marinovich needed to know, and what God was trying to show Israel, was that self confidence is no substitute for God confidence. Our confidence needs to be in the Lord and the power of his gospel to overcome sin in our lives, not our own strength. The landscape of Christianity is strewn with the bodies of those who thought “I’ve got this…I can handle this” but they could not. Do not be found as one of these casualties because you thought some sinful behavior was of little consequence and that you could deal with it in your own strength and in your own time. If you do, beware of the Ai that might lay before you.