May 28, 2018

By Paul J Banta

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – NIV

If you’re a Christian coach you know that your Lord declared that His grace is sufficient for every painful situation you will ever encounter (broken relationships, losing a match, sickness, and even death).  The New Testament happened to be written in the Greek language, and the word “grace” means “gift.”  As a former NCAA Division 1 Coach I went through a lot of painful situations, but because of His abundant goodness, kindness, and love for me, I did not have to succumb to discouragement, give up hope, or walk away from my problems.  His plan for my coaching and my daily walk with Him was always available and in view.  I just had to go after it.  We will know God’s grace working in us when we have the strength to persevere through the tough times and not quit.

The Holy Spirit is our friend, partner, counselor and comforter dwelling inside us as Christian coaches. God releases into us His supernatural power so that we will endure the big and the small, and troublesome times (Acts 1:8).  As our spirit grows with confidence in Him empowering, God ignites us with His grace and mercy awaking our hearts and minds recognizing God will turn up during our difficult times.  The trials we go through, and failures we have often cause us to doubt.  The Lord turns all into something beneficial for us because God works all in our lives that will benefit us (Romans 8:28).  He makes sure that He impacts our lives personally. He is not the author of confusion, and He makes no mistakes. You’ll have a sense of God’s presence in your life when you feel His grace working in you. You’ll get a feeling of consciously having the Spirit’s power supporting you. Your focus will shift from your worries, trials, and problems to God and His supernatural work in your life.  His grace helps us move our attention from our situation to what He wants for us.  The negative emotions of trying to fix things on our own begin to go away because God’s sufficiency for us takes over our coaching to live daily for Him and not our pride.

In training, we focus on the task ahead to play the next match at a higher level or to beat our next opponent, and so it is with our Christian walk.  We need to train ourselves daily by reading God’s word, spending time talking to Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to be our coach to win the game of life.  We must consistently trust that God will bring us through every situation in our lives — not just getting barely through them. In the end, God’s power and might will deepen our lives to impact others for Him.  We can be assured that God is in the driver seat if we follow His Word allowing Him to have the power of the Holy Spirit present working in our lives.  God knows the devil will try to influence you into making the wrong choices, which will cause confusion in your life and hurt you.  The Lord has promised to limit these trials that we go through being sustained by His power and His promises (1 Corinthians 10:13).  The apostle Paul had been through shipwrecks, imprisonments, and beatings – difficulties far worse than most of our problems.  He didn’t quit because he drew on God’s grace daily and found it sufficient and authoritative for every circumstance.  Do you need an infusion of grace in order not to give up and walk away?  On my office desk, I keep a coin on my keyboard.  On one side, there’s a picture of a soccer ball, which reminds me that God has given me this passion for soccer and Jesus. The other side of the coin says, “Don’t Quit.” It’s a moment-by-moment reminder that I’m doing this game of soccer for Christ. It’s been His gift to me to use for Him. Finish strong by never quitting.

What’s your next move?