This story appears in FCA Magazine’s JulyAugust 2018 issue.
With FCA Camp season in full swing, it’s always a joy to reflect upon the impact it had on me. And it’s even more fulfilling to know that similar experiences will take place all around the world, as coaches and athletes converge for a week of inspiration and perspiration, where they’ll be poured into athletically and spiritually and will be transformed by the Holy Spirit.
This year’s theme, “Strong,” is based on 2 Timothy 4:7, which says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” I believe this theme is one of the best we’ve ever had in tying our daily spiritual journey to athletic principles through Scripture.
It’s so encouraging to see those words, written almost 2,000 years ago, lived out by today’s coaches and athletes as they face competition—physical and spiritual—on the races marked out for them.
Like campers are doing this summer, let’s take a closer look at the three components of that verse: Fight, Finish and Faith.
Fight. Think about the coaches in your life—past or present—and how they inspired you to compete harder, to push past the pain, to fight.
We’re all familiar with “fighting” on the field, but as believers we must also realize there is an ongoing fight against the spiritual powers of evil. Ephesians 6:12 (MEV) says, “For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
We can’t fight these battles on our own. But the great news is that we are equipped with God’s Spirit to grapple with every spiritual hurdle in our way. We’ll be more than conquerors if we fight through the power of His strength.
Finish. We’re all given a specific “race” to run as a parent, spouse, coach or athlete. God has called us to finish that race all the way through the line.
In our home, we emphasize giving 100 percent, finishing what you start. We all have a natural tendency to drop out of the race before it’s done, especially if it gets hard. Ultimately, it’s not how we start, but how we finish that matters. The world is craving people who can end better than they began, who keep pressing toward the finish line, like Paul says in Philippians 3:14: “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
"... we are equipped with God’s Spirit to grapple with every spiritual hurdle in our way."
Faith. Do you truly believe God is with you? That He will help you fight spiritual battles and finish your race? Your faith in God will be the difference when the external voices of discouragement are there, and your internal voices are filled with doubt. Will you remain faithful in those moments, trusting that He will show you the way, so He can be glorified?
Jesus’ final words to His followers were to go and make disciples. Those words alone would have motivated anyone, but He knew we would need more than just words, so He sent His Spirit to come and be our strength, encouraging us throughout the race of life.
We ask you to join us in prayer for the more than 100,000 coaches and athletes attending FCA Camps this summer, that they might respond to the gospel and be committed to fighting, finishing and being faithful.
About the author
A lifetime of FCA's impact and influence on Shane Williamson as an athlete, coach and FCA staff member culminated with him being named the eighth president and CEO of FCA on Jan. 1, 2017.
A native of Loris, S.C., Williamson became a Christ follower while attending an FCA Camp in Black Mountain, N.C., in 1986. Following a calling to coach, Williamson enjoyed a 12-year career at four South Carolina high schools and the college level. Serving as head coach, as well as coaching a variety of sports, allowed him to introduce many of his fellow coaches and teams to FCA Huddles and camps. Williamson joined the ministry as a staff member in 2002 as the Upstate South Carolina Director. He has also been the Multi-Area Director for Metro Atlanta, the Vice President of Field Ministry for the Carolinas and the Executive Director.
Williamson and his wife, Angel, have four children: Maggie, Shayna, Ryann and Brice.