Athlete, You are Protected and Preserved
Jonathan Van Horn
Ephesians 1:13 (ESV)
In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
How do you feel when you make a mistake?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to make mistakes. One of my fears that I battle with often is the fear of failure. Specifically, what will people think about me if and when I fail?
My desire is for other people to like me, like what they see when I compete, like what they see when I interact with them, and this list goes on. I like people to like me!
So when I fail, it feels like I am letting other people around me down; especially those that I care about the most: family, friends, teammates. And this was brought to light in sport in both training and games.
As athletes, we are constantly measured by our performance, our wins and losses, and athletic success. And because of that pressure and culture within sport, these ideas spill over into other areas of our lives, including our spiritual lives.
So when I began to follow Jesus, I strived, worked and did my best to perform and be spiritually mature. But I still made mistakes, failed at times and fell to the pressure of my flesh and this world.
Can you relate?
How have you navigated the athletic culture to perform and be measured by your performance and the way this mentality spills over into your spiritual life?
One truth that Paul emphasizes to the church in Ephesus addresses this very topic. He writes, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13).
In this passage, the word “sealed” means the Holy Spirit protects and preserves you. It can also be translated that God the Father through the Holy Spirit has certified your acceptance by the Father as a genuine son or daughter, and you now bear His royal seal.
What this means is that you have the freedom to go and compete with complete freedom, not concerned with making mistakes or failing. And even if mistakes and failures happen, your standing with the Father can’t be broken; you are accepted, protected and preserved by the Holy Spirit.
Athlete, what would it look like today for you to compete with complete freedom, to take risks, push the limits and truly go for it knowing your heavenly Father has sealed you through the Holy Spirit?