Athlete, This is a Winner Portrait
1 Chronicles 5:18-20 (NIV)
The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had 44,760 men ready for military service—able-bodied men who could handle shield and sword, who could use a bow, and who were trained for battle. They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to Him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in Him.
Do you love reading biographies of winners? I sure do! I jump into these stories and find myself there. I love assessing the regimens they built, viewing the mountains they climbed, and sensing the perseverance, resilience and courage it took for these people to conquer.
Today’s Scripture presents a snapshot story that highlights four marks of a winner. Let’s take a closer look:
FIT: The Bible describes this army as “able-bodied.” They had, first of all, committed themselves to mastering their bodies.
They could make their bodies do about whatever they needed to do to deliver excellence and sustain it. A “1 Corinthians 6:19-20” mentality dominated them.
SKILLFUL: Scripture says that this group could handle multiple weapons, were well-trained and able-bodied.
That meant they were highly committed to skill development as a recipe for success. And being able-bodied meant that they were committed to laying a good foundation of super fitness to express their skills repeatedly, relentlessly.
The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare.
VERSATILE: Scripture says that this squad was also versatile. They could really move and showcase their skill all over the place.
They had all kinds of ways to score so you could put them anywhere you wanted to on the court. They learned to play “positionless,” like special ops soldiers. Playing with versatility is a great way to fight, to live.
FAITH-FACTORED: They believed that faith was the X factor. They let faith loose, and it permeated their play.
Their prayers weren’t just tokenly offered at the beginning or end of their battles. Their prayers entered the fray itself. Their faith got expressed right in the middle of the fight, they prayed during battle.
By inserting faith into the fight, they played with a much-needed balance. Their minds and hearts got engaged, not just the automated responses of well-trained mercenaries. They “brought” God into the middle of the fight.
And God answered their prayers, not because they prayed, but because they trusted Him with the outcome and whatever “the Coach” said before or during the fray. They believed God and stayed present with Him.
The same holds true for us. God calls people to fitness and skillfulness. We worship and serve Him well when we cultivate this pair.
He also calls us to versatility, broadening our skills set to be as humbly useful as possible. And He calls us to an expressed faith that trusts Him even in the midst of the conflict.
This is a picture of a total athlete. This is the portrait of a winner.
Reflect: What needs more warrior development in you — advanced fitness, dynamic skills, greater versatility, or robust expression of faith that truly trusts God in the middle of the action? How might you incorporate prayer into the middle of your labor?
A prayer to consider: LORD, thank You for this dynamic picture of a winner painted in your holy Word. I love the way You coach us to wins in life. Help me to further develop my physical fitness, skills, versatility and faith for Your glory and my joy. Amen.