Athlete, Find a Better Way to Play
Galatians 6:14 (NIV)
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Driven players always want to find a better way to play, to perform at a higher level. Good, growing coaches do too. Discovering this may mean ending a current approach, not just modifying it or adding to what’s already there.
A better way to play may indeed mean death to a usual way of operating, and then building and boasting in a better approach.
The book of Galatians certainly agrees. It points out conventional ways that need to go, to be thoroughly crucified, to actually double-die – them to us and us to them. (Some things don’t die easily, you know.) And it presents proven ways that need to settle in. The Bible calls the standard approach “the world.” And it builds the better system around “the Cross” of Christ.
Here’s the way the world operates that needs to die:
BUILD FOLLOWERS. Stoke the approval ratings. Create followers. Leverage fandom for power and prestige. Create crowds and trends. The more, the better. Performance-based acceptance defines everything.
PLAY IT SAFE. Get your wins at the shallow end. Stock them up as fast and as many as you can. Keep others on the defensive. Lie if you have to. Don’t let others in.
APPEARANCE MATTERS. Only what is seen is real. Materialism measures the man. Impress with résumés. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Sex sells. Chase popularity.
TALK A GOOD GAME. Self-promote. If you don’t, no one will. Be great at self-justifying too. Add trash talk. It’s a necessary life skill
FEED FEAR. It’s the hidden force and supreme motivator in life. Insecurity is normative living. Doubt is always with us. So manage these questions as best you can: Do you really have what it takes? Can you really do it again?
THIS IS BASIC MATH. If one is good, two is better. This applies to cars, houses, mates and more. Get as much as you can while you can.
In contrast, here’s the better way, “the way of the Cross” life:
FOLLOW ONE. Flip the script and practice being a great follower first, a follower of One. Follow well to lead well. Play to an Audience of One. Make God’s approval in Christ all that matters. What a detox! #Ao1®
LIVE AT THE DEEP END. Learn to live like David in a Goliath world. Live for adventure way more than comfort. In the end, living at this end renders one fearless. Be an open book … what you see is what you get.
THE HEART MATTERS. Be genuine. Live from the inside out. Come from the heart if you want it to work (Proverbs 4:23).
CALL FOR DEATH. Die to live. Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow the Leader. Put self-justifying to death. Accepting Christ’s righteousness alone by faith alone is enough. One more thing … Crucify the world’s way of thinking. It’ll only steal, kill, disappoint and destroy you.
LIVE IN FREEDOM. Surrender brings it. Surrender is often the key to victory. So is discipline. The fruit of discipline is freedom to become your best.
THIS IS BETTER MATH. One is better than two … or two million or billion! To have Him (Jesus) is to have enough (Matthew 13:44, Colossians 1:16-20).
There’s a much better way to play, to live. It requires death to the world’s way of approaching things and embrace of the better way. Let’s keep going for it!
Reflect: Is the way of the Cross sweet to you? What better way to play needs more passionate playing time and committed expression in you?
A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, thank You for scripting a much better way to play. I’m so deeply grateful. Your Cross is so sweet to me.
Help me to keep putting to death the other ways I’ve learned to play and treasure the way of the Cross. The way of the world never can sustain its wins. It’s dead to me.
The Cross holds the keys. I trust this way. I trust the dying/living Christ of the Cross. Amen.