There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
One common temptation for athletes is to live to please their flesh. They believe because they work so hard, they should enjoy themselves. This type of thinking can lead to poor performance and an early end to careers. They are trading short term pleasure for long term loss. For a believer, we are taught to live for long term gain. Doing right always brings a reward both now and in the future. This consistency even blesses those around us. God promises rewards for those who do right. What areas of your life can God bless?
2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
1 Corinthians 15:33
Athletes should be aware of where their decisions will take them.
The first step down the road to destruction is usually guided by one we would have called a friend. Be very careful who let get close to you.
Those who get closest to us have the greatest influence on our lives. Ask yourself if this person’s life is taking them somewhere you want to go.
Christians have long known the danger of allowing lost people to influence our lives—many examples in the Bible of this. Don’t let someone else’s sin to be your own. In what ways are your friends helping or hurting you?
2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13
August 3 COMPLAINING
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me.
One thing that will bring a team down is complaining. When someone complains, their focus is on the negative, and eventually, it leads to why we should do what we are asked to do. Complaining leads to poor performance. No team wants a complainer on it. God also does not like complainers. When people complain about God, they then stop obeying Him. We need to trust God in tough times, take our requests to Him in prayer. Trust Him and not blame Him. What do you complain about?
2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33
August 4 HERO
Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
1 Samuel 17:36
Every athlete dreams of being a hero. The one who rises up when it seems all hope is lost and turns the tide. Heroes are ordinary people who prepare hard daily, and they can take advantage of the opportunity when it arises. They are not somebody who just walked in off the street. For a believer to be looked upon as a hero, he must be prepared and take advantage of opportunities as they come. Opportunities are risky, but they are worth it. What situations in life have you already overcome?
2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23
1 Corinthians 1:1-17
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Attitudes can lift an athlete up or bring him down. One of these is thankfulness. When an athlete thinks that people owe him something, he ceases to be thankful for what he has. This lack of appreciation leads to a breakdown in relationships with other teammates hurting the team. A follower of Christ should be thankful all the time. Everything we have came from him. We don’t get what we deserve; we get better. God is good to us. Name some things in your life that you are thankful for.
1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5
HE PICKED YOU
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
An athlete experiences joy when he knows that he is wanted on his team. This feeling gives him the confidence to perform better and frees him from the fear of failure. When you know you are wanted, you are willing to sacrifice more for your team’s success. For a Christian, this concept of being chosen despite who we are and what we have done should bring great joy. This should give us the desire to perform better and sacrifice more. The God of the universe has chosen you. What does being chosen mean to you?
1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4
August 7 SPEAK OUT!
always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:15
An athlete is expected to speak out for his team every chance he gets. He is expected to say good things in public even when he is not sure all is well. This is part of the code that athletes live by. When an athlete doesn’t speak out or speaks negatively, someone will quickly remind him that that is unacceptable. As a Christian, we should speak up for the cause of Christ every chance we get. We have been given so much we should never be silent. In what situations in your life are you speaking out for God?
1 Corinthians 3:5-23
HELP IN TROUBLED TIMES
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
For an athlete being on a team provides comfort. Knowing that your coach supports you gives you courage. Knowing that in those dark, troubled times, you are not alone is a gift. You know that help is on the way many times before you asked. God is all of this for Christians and even more. He sees troubles ahead and sometimes stops them completely. Other times he lets us ask and then sends the help we need. He is always there. He will help you. In what areas of your life do you need help today?
1 Corinthians 4:1-21
TO BE WISE
For, “Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.”
1 Peter 3:10-11
To be a good athlete, you should behave wisely. Eat right, rest well, exercise, and practice skills. Doing these things can help make you a better athlete. You can learn them from watching others and be wise yourself. To be wise as a Christian, we should look at what God is doing and join Him in His work. When you see His blessings, it makes your heart full of joy. If you want to be wise, you should pay attention to what the Lord is doing. Where do you see God working right now?
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
August 10 WHAT’S IMPORTANT
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
An athlete will let you know what’s important to them by what they talk about the most. They might talk about their team, the game, their city, their friends. All you have to do is be around them enough, and you will know. This is also true outside of sports. If I say I am a Christian and that God is more important to me than anything else, you can tell how true it is by what I talk about. What I talk about the most is what is on my mind. So what would your friends say is important to you?
1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58
A characteristic of a successful athlete is a steadfast focus. You have a goal, and you are constantly working towards it. This focus leads to improvement. If you have one goal today and a different one tomorrow, you will not achieve much because you will be working towards too many things. For a Christian, when our heart and mind are set on Him, it allows us to work towards knowing Him. We will grow spiritually and be able to bless others. What is our focus on today?
1 Corinthians 7:1-24
August 12 WHAT HE SAID
“There is one who speaks rashly like he thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Some athletes are quick to praise others. Other athletes wish bad things upon their competitors. They rejoice when bad things happen to their competition. They are even glad when injuries happen to other players. This tendency is just a poor character. Those who follow Christ should be quick to praise others. They also understand that God has the power to return their curses upon them. God rewards those who wish well, not wish harm to others. Who are you praising today?
1 Corinthians 7:25-40
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Athletes are known for their reputation both by their in-game actions and lifestyle actions. It’s really rather simple to do well and have a good reputation or do poorly and have a bad reputation. You make your reputation through your daily decisions. God is concerned about His reputation, so He always does what He says He will do. He always does good. As a follower of Christ, we should be as concerned about our reputations as God is. What does your reputation say about you?
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
Athletes can learn from other athletes. The biggest decision is who do you want to learn from. The wise answer is you want to learn from someone you want to be like. You learn from someone by spending time with them. A follower of God wants to learn from God. And he knows that to be more like God, he must spend time with Him. This decision is made daily. You won’t become more like Him without spending time with Him. What are you currently studying?
1 Corinthians 9:1-18
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Athletes have their character tested in public more than most others. When their opponent does something wrong or says something that upsets them, they have a choice. You can respond like the offender and become like him or choose to ignore or respond with kindness and rise above him. God has set an excellent example when people speak curses. He responds with a blessing. To become like Christ, we should not resend to evil with evil, but with kindness. How do you respond to bad treatment by others?
1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13
The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.
Athletes want to be remembered for winning championships. They seek to win awards because those players are remembered. Those who don’t win are soon forgotten. No one plans on being forgotten. God has done truly wonderful works that will be remembered. If we walk closely with Him, He will do things through our lives that will become treasured memories. I don’t want to live a forgettable life. What do you want to be remembered for?
1 Corinthians 10: 14-33
There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.
Most athletes dread that after the game, the coach will look at each player’s contribution to the team. His work will be judged on following the game plan and doing the things he should be doing. It’s either good or bad—no middle ground. For a believer, our lives will be looked at like this one day. Did we contribute to God’s plan and do the things we should be doing. There is no middle ground. Our works should be truth and justice because this is how God’s works are. Name some of your actions that reflect God?
1 Corinthians 11:1-16
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2 Timothy 3:16
For an athlete to achieve his full potential, he needs to understand how his sport functions. Many details affect outcomes. He also needs to understand the importance of his relationship with his coach and with the other players. Without this understanding, the player will end up frustrated. For a Christian, this is a great picture. You need to understand how life operates. It is vital to have a good relationship with God and with other believers. What are you doing to grow in your relationship with God?
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
August 19 WISDOM
The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.
A characteristic that leads to success for athletes is wisdom. It can’t be taught because it really revolves around a decision. Wisdom involves recognizing the truth that someone else has and then being willing to give up our plans and base our decisions on it. As long as we seek to do our own thing, we can’t be wise. A true follower of Christ knows that acknowledging who God is the first step towards wisdom. What plans do we need to lay down in order to follow His?
1 Corinthians 12:1-26
RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
1 Peter 2:13
A forgotten tool that is key to being a successful athlete is respecting authority. Not respecting the referees will only lead to continued problems in the game. Not respecting the coach will affect the athlete’s playing time and cause problems with other players. Respecting authority comes with the benefits of that authority. Following God brings the blessings that only God can give. Not following Him brings problems. How do you respond to authority figures in your life?
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
For every athlete, there comes the moment of testing when things do not go right. At this moment, fear wants to move into your life. It will say that they won’t want you on this team anymore. They often feel like their lives are over. When this happens, what you trust in will either give you the strength to endure or let you down. As a follower of God, there are no letdowns. He will not abandon us in our moment of trial. No matter what happens, He will stay the same. What areas do you struggle with trusting Him?
1 Corinthians 14:1-17
GOD IS WATCHING
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.
Every athlete knows that during a game, he is being watched. The referee is watching to make sure he follows the rules. The coach is watching to make sure he follows the game plan. The fans are watching because they want to see their team win. Nothing he does will go unnoticed. For a follower of Christ, this is a great reminder. God sees all of our actions. He humbles Himself and takes time to be involved in our lives. He is looking for opportunities to reward us for doing well. Name some areas of your life that God would reward you for how you are living today.
1 Corinthians 14:18-40
A GOOD MAN
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
A significant achievement for an athlete is also to be known as a good man. This will be the legacy of his career. Some athletes are known as good athletes but not as good men. Athletes that are also known as good men receive more respect. God’s plan is for all of his followers to be known as good people. His pattern for that is dealing with other people with grace and helping those who have needs. We would all like to be treated this way as well. What areas of your life are you focused on building a good reputation?
1 Corinthians 15:1-28
August 24 CREDIT
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Nothing will make an athlete more unpopular than to take credit for his team’s success. Even star players need other players around them to make them successful. A wise athlete knows that it is a combination of athletes and coaching that makes any team successful. As a follower of Christ, we should always make sure that God gets the glory. Every good thing we do was His idea. All we do is follow His leading. He alone deserves credit because He also gives us the ability. What are you giving credit to God for in your life?
1 Corinthians 15:29-58
August 25 REPUTATION
Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
One thing that follows an athlete is his reputation. Words like proud, arrogant, self-centered, selfish, and lazy are things you hope to avoid. We want to be known as humble, unselfish, thoughtful, and supportive of others. These things are tied to our actions. Our actions should reflect on how we want to be known. God’s reputation is based on his actions. As followers of Christ, we should be conscious of the reputation that our actions are earning us. What would Jesus say of your reputation?
1 Corinthians 16:1-24
August 26 ASKED FOR
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 John 5:14
For an athlete, it is one thing to know who to turn to when you need help, and it’s another thing to do it. You can have the player on your bench who can turn the game around, but he has to be in the game to make a difference. You have to ask for his help, or you won’t get it. It works that way with God. Only God is truly capable of turning our lives around. But He is waiting for us to turn to Him and let Him do it. God has to be put in charge of your life to make a difference. What are you asking God to help you with?
2 Corinthians 1:1-11
“Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.
1 Kings 8:56
Every athlete dreams of being the “go-to” guy. The player, his team, relies on when the game is on the line. Other teams will challenge you to step up and make the tough shot. The goal is to be reliable, to make the play that makes the difference continuously. No matter how reliable you are, people will still challenge you to make the play. It is no different with God. Most people continue to challenge Him. He has never disappointed. For Christians, we should rely on his 100% consistency. What areas of your life are you not relying on God?
2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11
August 28 WHILE THERE’S TIME
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
In the back of every athlete’s mind is the desire to take advantage of their opportunities because they never know how many chances they will have. They want to be known as the player who took advantage of the chances they were given. The same should be true in our relationship with God. We should seek to live it to its fullest every day and take advantage of every opportunity the Lord gives us. After we are dead, it will be too late. What changes have you made so that you can take advantage of the time the Lord has given you?
2 Corinthians 2:12-17
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
When a timeout is called in sports, players gather around their coach and listen intently. They pay attention to everything that is said because they understand it could impact who wins the game. They know the value of listening. One blessing of being a follower of Christ is that God listens to us just as intently as those athletes do their coach. He values what we have to say. No one will listen as carefully to what we have to say. He understands us when we don’t make sense to others. Give an example where you know that God was listening to you?
2 Corinthians 3:1-18
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Everyone understands there are rewards for hard work and dedication. Other family members appreciate it when we come in and work hard.
We will not be criticized for our efforts in our family. Criticism belongs to those who don’t give their best effort to the family. No one has ever given more and sacrificed more than Jesus did for humanity. Knowing this to be true, we should not be critical of God. What has God done in your life that motivates you to serve Him?
2 Corinthians 4:1-12
August 31 BE AT PEACE
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
For an athlete to perform at his peak, he must be at peace. He can’t be worried, distracted, or troubled by a situation in his life. One thing that can help provide this inner peace is knowing that someone else is taking care of a situation. This allows them to focus on the game. For a Christian, this inner peace should be a constant possession. God is always there for us, taking care of situations better than we could ourselves. Knowing this, we should be more able to focus on living each day for HIm. What is keeping you from living in peace?
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10