It's All About Heart

"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.'"  

-1 Samuel 16:7 

It takes heart to play sports. Coaches fire up their teams by saying, "Go out there and play with all your heart. Leave it all on the field!" Skills and talents are important, but playing with heart separates the great athletes from the good ones. When my daughter looks at me while she is playing her basketball games, I pound my hand on my heart. It is my "secret" sign to encourage her to play with heart. Playing with heart is all about drive, passion and desire. 
The Bible talks about the heart all the time -- more than 540 times! The Lord even told Samuel that He looks at the heart, not the external stuff. God looks at the internal -- the heart. As athletes, we need to not only play with our hearts, but also we need to have hearts that are sold out to Jesus. We know what it means to give our all on the field, but do we know what it means to give our all when it comes to loving God?
Here is an easy HEART acronym to remember how to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength:
H: HUNGRY Heart. Do you have a committed heart that is fully His? A hungry heart that devours the Word of God and that prays continually?
E: EXPECTING Heart. Do you expect great and mighty things from a great and mighty God? Are you asking God for more? Do you expect spiritual breakthrough in your life?
A: ABUNDANT Heart. Is your heart full of God's love? Is it overflowing with thankfulness?
R: REAL Heart. Are you the real deal? Is your heart a HOT heart (honest, open and transparent)?
T: TEACHABLE Heart. Is your heart soft? Are you teachable? Are you a "know-it-all" athlete or a "teach-it-to-me" athlete?

Remember, it's all about HEART! 

1. Are you an athlete who plays with heart?
2. Why is the heart so important when playing sports?
3. Looking at the HEART acronym, what one do you do the best? Which one needs the most work?
4. How can you play and live every day with HEART? 
1 Chronicles 4:10
2 Chronicles 16:9
Proverbs 28:13-14
Isaiah 43:18-19
Colossians 2:6-7 

"Lord, I want to play and live with heart. Make my heart soft and sensitive to Your leading. I hunger for You. I am expecting awesome things from an awesome God. Grant me an abundant heart that overflows with thankfulness. A real heart that is transparent. A teachable heart that is open all the time."