“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16
Let’s all line up for a race. We’re going to sprint to a designated spot and back. The winner gets a prize (e.g. a quarter, a piece of candy, a pen, etc.).
- Besides winning a prize, what are some other motivations for you to compete?
You’re seeing glimpses of what you can be as an athlete and it’s exciting to experience competitive growth. But is it just about winning? If so, that feeling of excitement might not last for long. The great news is that God created you for something more!
In all competitive situations, it seems like you’ll get something good for winning or something bad for losing.
One Oklahoma softball coach, Patty Gasso, did a really good job at encouraging her athletes to celebrate the greater promise they have through their life in Christ and not just how well they do at softball. That team went to the 2021 NCAA championship. During their big game, their motto was “BATL” or “Boast About The Lord.” By focusing on God, they were able to play without being afraid of doing bad or making mistakes.
- What does boast mean?
As Jesus began His ministry, many religious leaders were nervous about his arrival. Most of them didn’t like the idea that someone else was greater than them. Except for a few.
Nicodemus’ identity was wrapped up in his job and his status. Nicodemus felt the pressure to perform, but what he really needed was the Truth. Until that point, Nicodemus knew all about God but didn’t truly know Him. Focusing on the rules of his religion prevented him from having a relationship. But Jesus showed Nicodemus the light of Truth and revealed a greater promise of eternal life.
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” —John 3:16–18
That night, Nicodemus stepped into the light of God’s promise. After meeting Jesus, he was no longer wrapped up in what he could do, but instead was compelled to see what God could do through him and for God’s glory.
- Why do you think Nicodemus knew so much about God and yet didn’t have a relationship with Him?
God wants to give you the greater promise that only comes from Jesus, more special than anything you can get by being good at your sport. Here are three amazing things that His greater promise will bring:
- Greater Love. God’s promise is only possible because of His great love for you— even to the point of sacrificing His own Son. —John 15:9
- Greater Gift. Salvation is the key to a relationship with God and the promise of eternal life. — John 3:17
- Greater Identity. There is no more confusion about who you are and your self-worth when you join God’s family. — John 1:12
Pray this prayer with your athletes:
“Dear Lord, thank You for your greater promise to save me and give me eternal life. Help me to receive Your love so that I might begin to find my identity in You.”