You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
One very common pitfall for athletes is to focus on themselves. They talk about themselves, and often their play focus on themselves. This is tolerated for a while, but after some time has passed, the other players on the team no longer enjoy playing with or being around this player. A well-liked athlete talks about his team and focuses on helping his team do better. A true follower of Christ will always speak of God’s things and keep his focus on helping others to follow Him. Is there anything in your life that tries to distract your focus away from God?
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
Some family members want to set their own rules and continually challenge the system. The result of this is that there can be continual conflict and lots of wasted time and energy. They haven’t discovered the freedom that comes from living within the rules. There are no negative consequences for living by the rules. As a follower of Christ, it is the same. Ultimate freedom comes from living within the guidelines He has given us. When we get off His path, we get into trouble. How often do you struggle to stay on God’s path and why?
We lift up our heart and hands
Toward God in heaven;
One of the keys to being successful as an athlete is the ability to follow instructions. There are many talented people not playing sports because they would not follow instructions. Teams win or lose based on players following instructions. As Christians, our lives are a blessing or a problem, depending on how we follow the instructions God has given us. The raising of one’s hands is a sign of surrender. Is there a part of your life that you don’t want to lift your hands and surrender to God and follow His instructions for living?____________________________________
October 4 THINKING ABOUT IT
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
For an athlete, an often overlooked part of the game is the mental part. Athletes who take the time to study their game and learn their coaches’ game plans reap the biggest rewards. In a close game, the mental aspect can be the difference between winning and losing. Know your sport and your plan. The same holds true for a follower of Christ. A person who studies the Word and seeks to live it out will have a life that stands in the tough times. What are some of God’s plans for your life?
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Not only do athletes get hope from words, but they can also gain strength. Where there was only fatigue, there can be renewed strength and determination. Games have been won and lost based on responding to the words of their leader. The Word of God does this for the believer. When there is only tiredness and fatigue, life can be renewed and restored by the King’s words. Instead of weariness in the battle, there is a change of momentum that can lead to victory. Where do you look in the Word of God for your strength?
so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
An athlete that has hope has the power to win. An athlete without hope faces certain defeat. One of the roles of a coach is to provide encouragement, which fuels hope. He has to recognize a player that needs this encouragement. God is a perfect example of the one who encourages us when we need it. He continually watches us and gives us His Word ahead of time to be there when we need it. Are you able to share hope with others by sharing the Word of God?
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,
1 Peter 3:14
As an athlete, you must never be intimidated. Intimidation wins the battle before it starts. Regardless of the enemy’s size or ability, the game is not over until the final whistle. Teams that refuse to be intimidated have won huge upsets. For a follower of Christ, we should never be intimidated by the world or the devil. These things may look tough, but they are already defeated. Their only hope is to intimidate you into handing them a victory. What in life is intimidating you from following Christ?
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Athletes are just like many other people in that they don’t like change. They love and find comfort in routine. Following the routine encourages the athletes in their quest for success. Knowing the routine and rules gives them confidence in their daily lives. For a follower in Christ, the same is true. God’s laws do not change and provide comfort and security for the Christian. Describe your walk with God?
the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
1 John 2:6
There is a time for an athlete where what he is instructed to do becomes automatic. This is the point of connection. The words equal actions, which is when frustrations cease, and joy is found in the performance. For a Christian, this is a critical moment as well. When God asks us to do equals how we live, there is tremendous joy and freedom. This moment of connection is an exciting time. It is a product of time and self-discipline. What areas of your walk with the Lord have reached the point of becoming habits?
1 Thessalonians 1 :1-2:8
October 10 FIGHT SONGS
“For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Athletes, like ancient warriors, like to go into battle singing songs about their exploits. These encourage and motivate them to focus on the game at hand. There is something about music that motivates us and gives us joy. For a follower of Christ, this makes sense. Singing songs of worship helps us to be encouraged and motivated in our walk with God. The difference in these songs is the lyrics are focused on God. We also receive joy in the song. What songs are you singing as you face the day?
1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord, you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
One of the keys to being an athlete is the ability to play wholeheartedly. An athlete who does not give his total effort will not achieve much and will not draw praise from his coach or the fans. An athlete is at his best when he gives his wholehearted effort. The same is true for a follower of Christ. A Christian who puts no effort into following Christ gains no praise from Christ. A follower of Christ who gives a wholehearted effort will gain praise and recognition. What interfeeres with you wholeheartedly following Christ?
1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:3
October 12 YOUR REWARD
Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
Athletes all perform for a reward. For some, it is simply the joy of winning a game; for others, it is the applause of fans, a trophy, or even winning a championship. An athlete who is not seeking a reward tends to perform poorly. The same is true for Christians. For a Christian, the reward can be blessings, but the ultimate reward is Christ himself. If a Christian focuses on anything else, it becomes an idol. A Christian needs to know what his reward is. What is your reward?
1 Thessalonians 5:4-28
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
An athlete has to have priorities. If he does not prioritize the right things, it will impact his performance in negative ways. For an athlete, the priorities would include healthy eating, adequate rest, and practice. Christians should have priorities, as well. These priorities will determine how effective the Christian will be in his service of Christ. These priorities include Bible study, prayer, and Church attendance. What are your priorities?
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Another key to improving athletic performance is to evaluate your performance. Without a truthful and careful examination, there is no hope for improvement. A good athlete focuses on the evaluation and then on making the changes needed for improvement. This parallels the Christian life. A Christian is expected to evaluate his life by the Word of God. Then as the Holy Spirit directs, changes should be made. What changes have you made in your life recently in order to serve God better?
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Every athlete faces opposition at some point. How they handle it says everything about them. The ability to face and overcome opposition says a lot about their character. When opposition comes, some people rise to meet it while others pull back from it. Just like athletes, Christians often face opposition. And just like athletes, some face opposition bravely while others pull back from it. A focus on Christ helps keep us moving forward when we face opposition. How do you react when you face opposition?
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
One aspect of every successful athlete is sacrifice. There are some things they give up to attain their goal. Things like personal time, sleep, and certain foods are all sacrificed to get something they want more. This is a wonderful lesson for a follower of Jesus Christ. There are some things on this earth that we must willingly give up to gain that prize that only God can give. What are you sacrificing in order to follow God?
1 Timothy 1:1-20
But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.
One of the most interesting relationships in sports is that of an athlete and his coach. Because this involves supervision and motivation, this relationship can get tense. An athlete doesn’t always want to follow what the coach tells him, but he knows that it is better for him and the team to follow the coach. This relationship mirrors a Christian’s life: it is not always easy to obey God, but you will still benefit from it. What directions is God giving you right now for your life?
1 Timothy 2:1-15
KNOWING YOUR TEAM
so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
1 Corinthians 12:25
One key to winning in sports is teamwork. You have to know who is on your team, and you have to identify with them. This sense of belonging and being part of a whole create unity and synergy, which helps the team achieve victory. For a Christian, this is an important concept as well. Identifying with those on the team creates strength, which helps the Christian to stand strong during trials. What role do you play on a team that is striving to live for God?
___________________________________ READING PLAN:
1 Timothy 3:1-16
October 19 WELL TAUGHT
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
For an athlete, the ability to look at a situation, realize what he needs to do, and then do it is invaluable. The reality is that all this needs to happen in a moment. The fastest way to acquire this knowledge is to teach it because it would take years of mistakes to learn it on your own. As a Christian, the ability to look at a situation and do what is right is invaluable if it would be better to learn from someone else than to make all the mistakes yourself. What mistakes have you learned from in learning how to live your life?
1 Timothy 4:1-16
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:11
Some athletes seem to be heading downhill, and then their career makes a comeback. The comeback is not fueled by new athletic ability. The secret is the athlete sees the mistake of trying to do things his way and decides to follow the advice he is given. A Christian can also experience a comeback in his life. It will happen when you cease to live for yourself and begin to live according to God’s Word. When this happens, a dramatic change will occur. Describe a spiritual comeback in your life?
1 Timothy 5:1-25
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
As painful as it sometimes can be, some lessons are only learned through pain and difficulties. A team that just won a championship credited the pain of losing the previous year by teaching them what it took to be a champion. They think it was worth it. Even as Christians, there are things we can only learn through pain and struggle. While we don’t enjoy the pain, we should enjoy the results. The struggle can only teach us when we want to learn from it. What have you learned from your most recent struggles?
1 Timothy 6:1-21
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Every athlete will face moments when their motives and effort will be questioned. These can be difficult times. At these moments, it is crucial to say the right things, but it is even more important to remember to be seen doing the right things. Actions alone will silence the doubters. For Christians, there are times when people will doubt us as well. It is important to remember that words won’t silence the doubters, but the right actions will. What actions have you adopted that in your life that could silence any doubters?
2 Timothy 1:1-18
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:20
Athletes should know there are things more important than fame and money. Some have made lots of money and have nothing today, while others made a little and have more today. The difference is in what do you invest your time and money. For a follower of Christ, the same is true.
If we make it our goal to pursue money, we could end up with nothing. If we pursue the things of God, we will have rewards for eternity. Your life seeks what you value. What are you pursuing?
2 Timothy 2:1-21
October 24 LEADERSHIP
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Every team needs an athlete who will take leadership in tough situations. This type of athlete is consistent, and the other players already know what to expect from him. When the going gets tough, others turn to him. As a follower of Christ, this should be the type of person we strive to be. So consistent in our walk with God that others know what to expect from us. Others have already been watching us, and our actions have created expectations, good or bad. Give an example of someone who has turned to you for help after seeing how you live?
2 Timothy 2:22-3:17
October 25 EFFORT
But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.
2 Chronicles 15:7
One of the keys to being a great athlete is effort. The interesting thing is that many times it is not even a conscious decision. It should be noted when it is a conscious decision, that effort usually goes up dramatically. This is a picture of Christianity. Many are making an effort without even giving it a conscious thought. Many times, we talk about how important it is to serve God without thinking about our effort. What is keeping you from giving your complete effort to following God?
2 Timothy 4:1-22
October 26 EXCELLENCE
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:12
Every athlete strives for excellence. They want to follow the game plan and do all they are asked to do. They build a reputation for excellence or inconsistency. One of the keys is paying attention and knowing what is expected of you. What a perfect parallel for the Christian life. We should all strive for excellence. To help make this happen, we should be reading the Word and listening to the Holy Spirit. What are you doing to develop a life of consistency in following Christ?
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
Athletes tend to push the limits physically. One area where they shouldn’t push the boundaries is that of the rules. Breaking the rules hurts them and their team. The rules don’t change, so they should learn them and live within them. For the Christian, we know that God’s laws are unchangeable. When we break God’s rules, we hurt ourselves and those around us. We should strive to learn God’s rules so that we can live within them. What has God recently shown you about His Word?
October 28 AVOIDING TROUBLE
If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction.
Athletes need to have boundaries in their personal lives. Without these “guard rails,” their careers can get derailed. This works best when the athletes decide what boundaries they want in their lives instead of having somebody else tell them what they need to do. Christians can keep their lives on track and avoid trouble by having personal boundaries in their lives. A Christian should study the Bible and use that as the guide for their boundaries. The Bible is the guide that will keep you out of trouble. What has God recently shown you about living according to the Bible?
For each one will bear his own load.
A wise athlete takes responsibility for his life and performance in sports. By being able to say, ” I did well,” or, ” I did not play well.,” it frees the athlete from having to be perfect. By taking responsibility, they acknowledge that their choices impact their lives and performance. A Christian should also be able to take responsibility for his choices and how it impacts his life. They should also be able to admit when they have lived well and when they have not. This responsibility also includes the responsibility to change. What change in your life are you currently focused on making?
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
An athlete can gain an advantage over his opponents by spending time learning the playbook and the rules of his sport. This extra knowledge, when translated into action, can be the difference between victory and defeat. A Christian can also gain an advantage over his enemies by spending time reading the Bible. By knowing the Word, we can avoid certain situations and also walk in a relationship with God. This relationship gives guidance to make wise decisions. How do you study God’s playbook?
October 31 LOYALTY
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
For an athlete, loyalty is an important character trait. Loyalty to their team and the other players on that team is expected. That decision should be firm and not on and off again. When we set our hearts to go in a specific direction, it makes many decisions for us. Loyalty is also important for a Christian. One shouldn’t pledge loyalty to God and then not live like He asks you to. The decision should be consistent and lived out daily. This decision also makes many other decisions for us. How does your life reflect loyalty to God?