Athlete, Be Peace Loving
James 3:17 (NIV)
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving …
If we are truly seeking to walk, work, or play in a manner that is honoring to Jesus, then we will want the wisdom He gives, and being a peace-lover is a natural characteristic of that heavenly wisdom.
Competitive sports are filled with overpowering emotions that range from joy to agony, praise to profanity, and even love to hate. Let’s be honest, peace is not a word used to describe athletic competition.
We are always operating in a heated environment surrounded by invested parents, cheering fans, exhorting coaches, striving competitors, and controlling officials. Because of the adrenalin-charged atmosphere, there are many times we leave the court or field feeling anxious and defeated, even in victory.
I believe forfeiting God’s wisdom and sacrificing your personal peace is too high a price to pay for playing. But how is it possible to release God’s supernatural wisdom through peace into such a chaotic and stressful environment?
James 3:18 says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” We must sow in peace! We must carry it, handle it, spread it, cherish it, water it, nurture it and watch it grow into a bountiful crop.
Regardless of our circumstances, we must always throw out seeds of peace which flow from His presence in us.
One of the best opportunities to sow peace that occurs often in athletic environments is dealing with difficult teammates. Athlete, are you open and willing to converse with them or do you avoid them, treating them as a nuisance.
When working to achieve team goals it is almost impossible and certainly not profitable to avoid interpersonal conflict on a team. With Holy Spirit help, we can love the difficult, different, or divisive individual, and we can interact with them in peace-filled ways.
Sowing peace into our relationships with “extra grace” teammates will produce the fruit of righteousness in us.
If we are Spirit-filled and led, when conflict comes up, and it will, we can proactively work with our teammates to resolve the problem from a foundation of trust. This releases peace into even the most trying situations. Ephesians 2:14, “For He Himself is our peace …”
A prayer to consider: Lord, help me be a peacemaker! Let the seeds of peace sprout up in my gym so I can respond kindly and humbly to an argumentative coach, or a disgruntled parent, or a spiteful referee. Plant peace in my gym!