“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” — John 15:5
Imagine you are in the middle of competition. You look into the crowd and notice some of the fans cheering or watching in anticipation.
- Who do you see that might make you a) play harder, b) get nervous and c) have more fun?
- Why do you think some people can have an impact on your performance? Today we’re going to talk about how there is more to sports than just winning. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s life-changing when you begin to recognize your full potential through Christ.
Performance counts. It isn’t a bad thing, but an unhealthy point of view as a competitor can produce bad habits, wrong motivations and unnecessary pressures. The good news is that your identity in Christ gives you a new way to perform.
NFL quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson and Tua Tagaovailoa have become known for using the popular phrase “Audience of One.” It’s their way of telling football fans that they play first and foremost for God. They want to give Him the glory by giving their best performance on the field.
That doesn’t mean they don’t feel pressure, but for any athlete who competes with this mindset, understanding that God is the only person they truly need to please can certainly bring peace, joy and freedom from fear.
- What does the phrase “Audience of One” mean to you as an athlete?
- Is playing for God something you think about always, some of the time or not at all?
When your identity is in Christ, you are no longer performing for yourself, your coach, your family or your friends. Like those NFL athletes and many more like them, you are playing for an Audience of One. Once you only compete for Him, others can see Christ working through you as an athlete.
That’s why it’s so important to stay connected to “the vine” and remain in Christ (John 15:5). But that also means you must sacrifice your wants and plans and commit your life to Jesus. It may not always make sense, but for the athlete, it’s like losing to win.
“The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” –John 12:25
Giving your life to Christ and staying connected to Him might mean giving up some things that are holding you back or keeping you from experiencing the fullness of a life-changing relationship with God. But what you will receive in return is so much greater than anything the world can offer. You will have the power of Christ inside of you and be able to reach your fullest potential to perform for His glory.
- Do you feel like your performance is mostly for God, yourself or someone else?
- What do you think “losing to win” might look like in your life?
When you have found your new identity in Christ, it will help you unlock your full potential and lead to a greater performance for His glory. You are now playing for Someone, not something.
Here are three key things that you will receive through your relationship with God:
- Greater Fuel. God is your Creator and He knows (and through Jesus will give) what you need most to glorify Him in all areas of your life.— John 6:35
- Greater Freedom. Performing for Him first allows you to stay untangled from the world’s expectations of you as an athlete and as a disciple of Christ.—John 8:36
- Greater Fruit. More than just athletic performance, staying connected to Jesus will produce godly characteristics in your life.— John 15:8
Lead your team in prayer.