Athlete, Use the Past
Ephesians 2:1,2 (ESV)
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world ...
Remembering our past can serve many purposes in sport and in life.
We recall past games and experiences to help us handle similar situations in competition now. We remember what losing the big game felt like, so we are motivated to work harder that it won’t happen again.
When we hit some in-game adversity we remember all the conditioning, lifting and hard work from the offseason, reminding us we are surrounded by teammates we know we can count on.
Many of these scenarios directly correlate to life circumstances as well.
We look back and recognize what helped us and what hurt us and the growth we were able to make.
For example, we look back and learn which study methods didn’t work and change them accordingly. Or we remember what it was like to be a freshman, enabling us to empathize with new ones coming in.
It is important to remember where we came from spiritually as well, what life was like during our B.C. days. Losing sight of this prevents us from seeing and appreciating Jesus for all He is and all He did.
Maybe you don’t like thinking back on this time, or you have never thought about it. The first three verses of chapter two in Ephesians paint our past for us.
Simply put, we were spiritually dead because we walked in sin (v.1). True life was not in us, no matter how “alive” we may have felt. The world and Satan were our leaders (v.2), teaching us we were the center of our lives.
Our own passions and desires were all that mattered (v.3). At our core, we — all of humanity — were characterized by disobedience and wrath (v.2,3).
Maybe you don’t think this represents you, and you are thinking, “I might not be the ‘golden child,’ but following Satan? Come on.”
Unfortunately, this is an accurate description of all of us before and apart from Christ, whether we realize it or not. Until we are humbled to see ourselves in this light, we will be unable to fully grasp the richness of God’s mercy, grace, love and forgiveness through Jesus.
Jesus cannot be a Savior to those who don’t feel they need one! We must pray for God’s help to open our eyes to see and to grant us intellectual honesty when assessing ourselves.
As we begin to see where we were, our hearts can only swell with love, gratitude and praise toward God for where we are now!
Reflect: Have I accepted Jesus into my life? Do I understand the great transformation possible through Him? Do I think about who I was before Jesus came into my life?