Athlete, Avoid Inflicting Wounds on Yourself


Athlete, Avoid Inflicting Wounds on Yourself

Bryce Johnson

Ephesians 5:17 (ESV)

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

As an athlete, there is a pretty good chance that at some point during your playing career you have had a coach tell you, “Make the other team beat you. Make sure that you don’t beat yourself.”

It may be another coaching cliché, but it really is a good message for a coach to deliver to their team. We know firsthand how unforced mistakes negatively affect teams and how critical it is for players to do what they can to avoid those costly errors.

During games, athletes have to make wise decisions, while demonstrating self-discipline and focus.

Similarly, as followers of Jesus, we can avoid many of the “self-inflicted” wounds that take place because of poor decisions, foolishness and selfishness by living our lives with wisdom from God, self-discipline, focus and preparation.

In order for us to improve our “above-the-neck errors” and make better decisions, we must ask God to help us renew our minds.

As Paul writes in Romans 12:2 (ESV), “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Jesus invites us to follow Him. When we do, He leads us away from the “self-inflicted” wounds that set us back and prevent us from doing the things we’re capable of.

When we do make mistakes and poor decisions, and experience “self-inflicted wounds,” we must confess, receive forgiveness and make the proper adjustments. We repent, ask God to help us understand His will and strive to live a fruitful life.

Ephesians 5:17 (ESV) gives us this important challenge: “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Thankfully, God gives us His Spirit to empower and enable us to make wise decisions, as well as, be self-controlled and self-disciplined.

We’re reminded of this in 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV):  “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

We are all going to make mistakes both in sports and in life. But in both cases, so many “self-inflicted wounds” are avoidable when we operate with wisdom and self-discipline.

Today, let’s follow Jesus in the way we should go, thank Him for His grace and the wounds He took on our behalf, and remember the “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless” (Proverbs 14:16; ESV).


  1. What are some self-inflicted wounds that have happened in your life because you lacked wisdom and self-discipline?
  2. How can you gain more wisdom and have more self-discipline?

A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, I desire to be obedient and live in a way that is honoring to You. Please help me live by the Spirit and follow Jesus so I can avoid unnecessary self-inflicted wounds. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.


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