In The Zone

USC QB Matt Barkley

It’s rare, but, when it happens, people take notice. Every pass is complete, every drive ends with six, and everyone knows they’re witnessing greatness.

Being “in the zone” athletically is one thing—almost unattainable and utterly desirable—but what about being “in the zone” spiritually? According to Ephesians 3:20, we can “…do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us…” That’s right. Christ’s power is working inside each of us to fulfill His calling on our lives. It’s available to all of us but looks different to everyone.

This fall, we talked to some of the top college football players in the country, beginning with USC’s Matt Barkley, about what it looks like to be “in the zone” spiritually. We pray that, as you read their quotes on the following pages and watch them compete this season, you’ll be inspired to seek the Lord in new ways and get “in the zone” spiritually, too. -FCA-

Matt Barkley – University of Southern California

#7 – SR / QB / Newport Beach, Calif.

FCA: What comes to mind when you think of being “in the zone” athletically?
Matt Barkley: Blocking out distractions and knowing what’s important at the moment. On the football field, I’m able to block out the crowd noise, hecklers, signs or whatever people are doing to distract me from what I’m trying to accomplish. I think it’s pretty similar to life as a Christian. In the game and in life you’re trying to stay on the straight and narrow, and there’s always going to be something pulling you in another direction. But how are you going to stay focused, and how can you keep your eyes on the goal and finish what you started?

FCA: What does Ephesians 3:20 mean to you?
Matt Barkley: I realize I’m not in control of everything, but I believe in a God who can do miraculous and mighty things. It gives me peace to “let go and let God.” I know that I can’t solve or control everything, but all I have to do is stay focused on my relationship with God, and He will handle my life.

FCA: Considering your relationship with Christ, what does it mean to be “in the zone” spiritually?
Matt Barkley: It means being in constant communication with God—just like any other relationship—and always being fascinated with and wanting to know more about Him. If you don’t talk to a friend for a month or two, you won’t know them that well. The same applies with God. I think being in constant, daily communication—whether that’s prayer, devotions or just reading His Word—you need to be intentional in that relationship to know Him and His plan for you. Being in the zone spiritually is more important than any other zone you could be in.

FCA: How do you get “in the zone” spiritually with the Lord?
Matt Barkley: Preparation and scheduling things just like we do in football is the key. You want to get better on the field, and pursuing that in your walk with Christ is even more important. I have to be intentional and set apart times for God. I think being intentional about being in the Bible and in relationship with others who hold you accountable helps you stay focused and in the zone.

WANT MORE? Click here to watch a video profiling Barkley’s faith!

Players by Conference:

ACC Big East Big 10 Big 12 Conference USA MAC Mountain West PAC 12 SEC

About the Author


The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is touching millions of lives… one heart at a time. Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.

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