“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 excitement.
- 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?
NFL quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson and Tua Tagaovailoa have become known for using the phrase “Audience of One.” It’s their way of telling football fans that they play first for God before anyone else. They want to give Him the glory by doing their best on the field.
That doesn’t mean they don’t feel pressure, but it help them remember to find peace and joy while playing for Jesus. You don’t have to fear messing up or making mistakes.
Hold your index finger up in the air and point to the sky. Say it with me, “Audience of One!”
- What does “Audience of One” mean to you?
- Is playing for God something you think about always, some of the time or not at all?
When you focus on your relationship with Jesus Christ, you are no longer performing for yourself, your coach, your family or your friends. Like those NFL athletes, you are playing for an Audience of One—Jesus!. Once you only compete for Jesus, others can see Christ working through you.
That’s why it’s so important to stay close to God. The Bible refers to remaining in Christ as staying connected to “the vine” (John 15:5).
Stretch up your arms high in the air and spread out your fingers, like branches on a tree. God is the vine (your arms) and we are the branches (your fingers). To give your life to Jesus means your current life will look different.
Let’s read the following verse:
“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
Staying connected to Christ might mean giving up some things that are holding you back or keeping you from experiencing everything God has for you. You will have the power of Christ inside of you! Point to your chest and say outloud, “The power of Christ in me!”
You give up something to gain something greater.
- Do you play sports for God, yourself or someone else?
- What is something you feel like you need to give up to stay connected to Christ?
When you have found your new identity in Christ, you are playing for God’s glory, not your own. 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) exactly what you need so you’ll be able to glorify Him in all areas of your life.— John 6:35
- Greater Freedom. Performing for an Audience of One allows you to focus on what’s important and not what the world wants.— John 8:36
- Greater Fruit. It’s not all about sports, so staying connected to Jesus will improve other areas of your life as well.— John 15:8
Let these verses live in your heart.
Close in prayer with the team or ask an athlete if they feel comfortable leading the group in prayer.