“When he had left, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him.’” — John 13:31
Athletes have a natural desire to be told good things while training, in practice and, of course, during and after competition. In those moments, there is a decision to be made about how to process and dispense that inward glory.
There are moments when you receive praise and applause, and that can feel good. But your greater purpose reminds you that the glory goes first and foremost to God, and that’s always the best strategy.
When you choose to be a part of God’s team, you are taking the journey of a lifetime: to know Jesus personally and walk with Him as He guides your life. Before beginning that journey, it’s important to know four simple truths that comprise the Gospel message in the Bible.
(Pass out the “FOUR” bracelets.) I want you all to look at your bracelets. There are four symbols on each one. Let’s call out the four symbols together. (Heart, division sign, cross, and question mark)
These four symbols are an easy way to share the Gospel to your friends. The first symbol is a heart which stands for God’s love for us. The division sign stands for sin, and when sin entered the world, it separated us from God. The cross stands for Jesus’ sacrifice, which provided a way for us to be reunited with God. Then last is a question mark.
Each person must decide if they believe the first three symbols are true. Each person gets a chance to have Jesus in their life, but they must choose to follow Him in their own heart.
(If they haven’t put their bracelets on, tell them to put them on.) Now you all have a way to share God’s love with all your friends!
When a great athletic feat or accomplishment is made, the accolades roll in—the high fives, the roaring of the crowds, the announcer booming through the speakers. It’s easy to live for praise.
And of course, after the competition, how you respond to praise and whom you credit for your success says a lot about who you are.
In all of those moments, a choice has to be made. That choice is not usually made on the spot but rather in private when an athlete is either thinking about themselves or spending time with God.
- What do you usually do when you have a moment to celebrate something good that you or your teammates have done during competition?
- How often do you think about giving God the glory for your accomplishments?
Jesus was sent to Earth for the greatest purpose ever—to live a perfect life, die for our sins, defeat death and leave us with the greater promise of eternal life. Another part of His purpose was to bring glory to God through His teachings, His compassion and His miraculous works.
If anyone had a right to take the glory for Himself, it was Jesus. He always said the right things. He never did anything wrong. He loved everyone. He was perfect.
While Jesus was glorified upon His resurrection, He was glorified to bring greater glory to God. In the same way, when we receive glory for things we have done through Jesus, we are to point people to God and pass all of the glory along to Him.
“I have glorified you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” — John 17:4
Understanding your greater purpose reminds you that the glory goes first and foremost to God. Here are three ways we can express a greater glory in all areas of our lives:
- Glorified Life. God didn’t just create us, but He also sent Jesus to die for us. How we use our mind, body and soul should always bring greater glory to Him.
- Glorified Works. That means everything we do in competition, at work, at school, in our relationships, in our free time and for others should glorify God.
- Glorified Future. When we glorify God today, it’s just a taste of what our eternal lives will be like in Heaven one day.
Pray this with your athletes
“Dear Jesus, thank You for being our Lord and Savior. Help them to recognize sin separates us from You. We know that You love us and have rescued us. Show us how to live boldly and to share The FOUR with others! Amen.”