We chase after glory, meaning, lasting impact. A chance to write ourselves into the record books.
Our quest as competitors is to reach the pinnacle of performance and see our name, our team, land on top.
We spend vast amounts of time searching for what will make us great, disciplining our bodies to look and act in the best possible ways when we compete, and studying playbooks and film long into the night to ensure we leave no angle uncovered in preparation for the game.
There’s a chasing that doesn’t seem to end, a thirst that cannot be quenched. But this will leads to a deeper chase, an increased pace and the flash of fame that fizzles within the hour. It’s an endless chase that we just can’t get right, because we’ve set our sights on something that can’t hold up against the pressure.
Where have you been putting your worth? In what the crowds and paper clippings say? In what your coach thinks? In the athletic director’s make-or-break demands for your program?
What defines you as a competitor? Is it your ability to run? Your strength? Your strategy?
We easily wrap ourselves in the world’s definitions of success and lose sight of what’s truly important.
“For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Let each person examine his own work, and then he can take pride in himself alone, and not compare himself with someone else. For each person will have to carry his own load.”
At the end of the day, after another relentless stretch of meetings, practice and pressure, we’re worn out and looking for a better way.
The good news is that there is a better way. It’s not the ring. It’s not statistics. It’s not status.
It’s not about what you do, but who you are.
God says we are as His sons and daughters. Accepting the gift of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, takes the pressure of performance off our shoulders and gives us our belonging in God’s family.
“He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.” -Ephesians 1:5-6
Jesus offers us a break from the bustle of keeping up, the surge for more that never quenches.
In Jesus’ day, the religious leaders (the Pharisees) were quick to speak, pray and appear holy for the sake of other’s admiration and respect. They looked to the Law and honored it as a works-based faith, often adding their own rules, making it nearly impossible to keep up to the standards they set.
When the Pharisees began to come after Jesus for not properly adhering to the Sabbath regulations found in the Law, Jesus cut to the core of the issue: their hearts. The Pharisees wanted to chase after religion and rules so they felt better about themselves; they did not humble hearts chasing after God. This was most evident when they refused to see the truth when Jesus revealed He was the Son of God.
Jesus had some harsh words to say to them because they were missing the entire point of their being. Jesus fully identified with God, and since the Jewish leaders refused to acknowledge Jesus’ origins, they were missing out on their own identities. We can fall into the same trap when we find our identity in anything other than being a part of God’s family.
Jesus gives life. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and our role is simply to respond to God’s love and life through Christ.
When we look to the approval of others and misplace our identity in what we do rather than who we are, we can begin to misplace our values. God’s acceptance is all we need, and when we accept His Son Jesus and believe God’s love for us is greater than any worldly accolade we desire, it changes everything. Our mindsets switch, and we move from desiring an inward glory of self to an outward glory of God.
“I do not accept glory from people, but I know you—that you have no love for God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and yet you don’t accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, since you accept glory from one another but don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God?” -John 5:41-44
Sure, it’s good to chase after better, faster, stronger in your sport. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But when it overtakes your identity and you forget to rest in who you are as God’s child, that’s when things get tangled.
So, let’s clear it up.
What truly defines you as a competitor:
1. You are a beloved child of God. (1 John 3:1)
2. God’s approval is all you need. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
3. God has given you athletic talent to bring Him glory (Colossians 3:23)
God is the One who draws out the greater potential in you. He isn’t concerned by your stats, but looks at and celebrates the condition of your heart.
Read the full article to learn more about what it means when it's not about what you do, but who you are.