When things go right, praise and celebration usually follow.
We make the game winning shot, and the crowd goes wild. We get the scholarship to play at a dream university, and our community sees us as a success. We win a championship, and we gain more sponsorships for the following year.
It feels good to be seen and noticed, even celebrated. But this can and will never be the source of true happiness. And when we’re on a team, success depends on how well we work together with our teammates. It’s not up to us as individuals.
Remembering our greater purpose for competing puts the attention on Jesus. He was the ultimate example of the Light of the world, yet His humility and identity were rooted in God. Jesus didn’t do anything without proper connection to His Father. He knew His ultimate purpose was to bring God glory.
Jesus, when He knew the time arrived for His arrest and death, told His disciples the purpose behind the events that were about to happen.
“When he [Judas] had left, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.’” (John 13:31-2)
Jesus was sent to Earth for the greatest purpose ever—to live a perfect life, die for our sins, defeat death and leave us with the greater promise of eternal life. Another part of His purpose was to bring glory to God through His teachings, His compassion and His miraculous works.
If anyone had a right to take the glory for Himself, it was Jesus. But He didn’t take His Lordship as something to brag about:
“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be exploited.
Instead He emptied himself
by assuming the form of a servant,
taking on the likeness of humanity.
And when He had come as a man,
He humbled himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
For this reason God highly exalted Him
and gave Him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow—
in heaven and on earth
and under the earth—
and every tongue will confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
Through Him, we can be better equipped and unified to submit to our role on our team, the wellbeing of our teammates and steadfast mindset of glorifying God through our play.
Competing with a greater purpose deflects the glory from self and sets our sights on God and His greater work within us. When we give our lives to Him, God shifts our priorities to line up with the best He has in store, not only through circumstances, but through a greater internal work of our hearts.
God gives us a greater glory as we trust Him and allow Him to move in and around us by:
As we accept Jesus’ work on the cross to save us from sin and an eternity without God, we are mindful to glorify God in every aspect of our lives—mind, body, soul.
“For you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
As we glorify God in our bodies and lives, He spreads into every aspect of our days: In our relationships, our schoolwork, our jobs, in competition, our free time and all other spaces and places.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Praise the Lord: We get to glorify Him in the here and now, but also for all of eternity! Every ounce of our efforts here on Earth lead to the everlasting praise and glory we get to give God when we live with Him in Heaven.
“For from Him and through Him
and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)
When we receive glory for things we have done through Jesus, we are to point people to God and pass all the glory along to Him. This is the best strategy: Give God the glory.
Read the rest of the article to learn what it looks like to compete with a greater purpose.