"Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." — 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
Jeff Hart, a retired offensive tackle for the Baltimore Colts, knew that in order to be able to handle the opposing linemen, he needed to concentrate on every play. After breaking from the huddle, Jeff would look at the goalpost in the end zone, which symbolized for him the cross of Christ and reminded him of who he was really serving. He would then commit the next play to an audience of One. This focus and devotion allowed Jeff to play at his best and helped him to keep perspective. Whether professional or not, every athlete and coach faces a variety of challenges. Adversity comes to all of us at some point in life and requires that we focus on what is most important. Whether it’s a difficult situation with a player or a series of losses, we will have struggles. Consequently, we need to train our hearts and minds through devoted prayer so we’ll respond with the character and integrity God desires.
We would never think about playing a game without preparation. In the same way, we must be spiritually prepared if we are going to be able to handle tough times. Spiritual preparation comes by looking daily at the cross of Christ and remembering the suffering the Son of God endured for us so that His life and power in us can sustain us and honor Him. No doubt, adversity will test the limits of our gifts and talents. But by being well-grounded in prayer with Christ, having consistent time in His word, and enjoying Christian support and accountability, we’ll be in the best position to trust God during the “troubled waters.” Such spiritual training gives us the focus and devotion we need to keep the right perspective in all we do.
1. Where do you go when faced with a difficult situation?
2. Who do you share personal concerns with and receive godly counsel and prayer from?
3. How are you training for those challenges that we all face at some time?
Extra Reading: Psalms 9:10; 18:6; Hebrews 10:19–24; 1 Peter 1:3–6
Lord, You alone are worthy of my devotion. Help me to stay focused on You in prayer throughout today so that I’ll be prepared for whatever comes my way! Amen.