27 "I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the good news."
Philippians 1:27 (NLT)
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes creates a one-word theme each year, and we kick off the summer camp season in June by unveiling this theme.
The theme for 2017 is ONE, and the key verse is from Philippians 1:27, “I will know that you are standing together with one spirit, and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the good news.”
This year’s FCA curriculum covers four main points, ONE Passion, ONE Pain, ONE Power, and ONE Purpose. So applying the theme of ONE and the key verse from Philippians, let’s explore what it means as Christian athletes to stand together as ONE.
As a former coach, the idea of a team practicing, training and playing as if they were all inspired by one single intent and completely committed to one single purpose would be a dream come true.
In the sports community, we are inundated with the concept of oneness or unity, but in reality, even unselfish, humble athletes and coaches are still motivated by varying factors.
Maybe you play for the adrenalin high of competition, or the thrill of winning, or the challenge to overcome, or the need to be accepted, or the desire to dominate.
The fact is, our human needs drive our motivation to participate in sports, because God made us with uniquely created personalities and passions.
Through the years, I’ve had some great teams that truly loved one another, played with tremendous effort and executed well as a team. But they were still lacking in the kind of oneness that Paul is exhorting the believers in Philippi to live in.
Why? Because the kind of oneness that Paul is talking about in Philippians is supernatural.
Christian unity, the will to stand together and fight side by side for the sake of truth – the good news of salvation through Jesus – is a togetherness that can only come through God’s Holy Spirit in us.
Faith in Jesus radically changes our natural motivation into supernatural inspiration.
Can you even imagine what it would be like to be surrounded by a team of believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, standing together with one purpose, and fighting together – not to win games, but to glorify God and honor Him through sports?
Athlete, even our coveted desire to win would be radically altered, and winning would be a byproduct of our unity, not the focus of it.
A prayer to consider: Lord, help us bring ONEness to our teams. Teach us how to lead well, love fiercely and live loyally so that others are moved to draw nearer to You.