The Discipline of a Linebacker


But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” — Matthew 14:30


Over the past fourteen years, I have been a defensive coach in our high school football program. Specifically, I coach linebackers. In order to play linebacker successfully at our level, a player must make a total commitment to the expectations placed upon him. It requires an unwavering self-discipline.

Our linebackers must learn to focus on a “read” of typically an offensive guard. Linebackers learn that no matter what is happening around them, they must be totally focused on the guard’s head, or they will be defeated. The instant the lineman’s head moves, the linebacker must react immediately. There are many offensive plays and the lineman’s attack will vary in each of them. With so many ways developed to defeat our linebackers, they need a very solid foundation to be contributing parts of our team.

I often apply the approach used for coaching linebackers to our development as Christians. We go through our lives with a lot of worldly things going on around us. If we are going to be successful following Christ, we must, with all that going on, keep our focus on Him. Once we take our eyes off Him, we get off track and get caught up in all the confusion. Peter realized this when he stepped out of the boat. As long as he focused entirely upon Jesus, he walked on the water. When his focus shifted from Jesus to the water around him, he immediately began to sink.

Like the offensive guard, the world (Satan) has many different “plays,” or ways of trying to defeat us. How exciting it is to know that our Lord has provided a response to every single one of them. As the linebacker succeeds by relying on his foundation, we, too, can be victorious as we rely on His strength and the foundation we have through prayer and His Word.


1. What key “reads” in the Christian life are you focusing on?
2. How does the world attempt to confuse you?


Extra Reading: Romans 16:17–18; Colossians 2:8–10


Father, help us keep our eyes on You and Your truth, and guard our hearts, minds, and spirits from worldly confusion. Amen.

Bible Reference: 
Colossians 2