March 18, 2019

By Paul Banta

Psalm 139:19 – 24 says, “O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name. O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” – NLT

Over the years I have done a lot of coaching education courses nationally and internationally and invariably the part of the open discussion time is centered on coaches getting their players to be competitive to score more goals to wins more matches. These conversations have been with both non-Christian and Christian coaches. Where do we stand as far as competing for all out, and what is all out and why are we doing it?

For years I was employed as a coach to win soccer matches. No one ever told me how to do it. Most bosses I had had no clue about soccer and knew only that a ball with the black spots on it had to go into a huge net and wondered why we won games only by a goal or a few more than one. It did not make much sense to them, but they let me go and do my own thing preparing players to run longer, run harder and run faster than other sports they had to supervise at the university level. They knew soccer was an abnormal competitive game and left me alone to achieve the goal of a winning season thinking that I was healthy and sometimes strange. They were most confused.

Christian coaches must coach competitively, the very nature of the sport, to win matches. One of the last things we have to do is have others look at us as the source of significant accomplishments and for them to see Christ through working through us as we compete. Who is in control of your coaching? Who searches your heart and methods? Who examines your motives?  I know that guys who supervised me, for the most part, looked at the wins and loss record and did not look at my heart. Not sure if it was because they had too much on their plate or thought, “he’s good, and I’ll just let him go on and keeping winner championships.”

In the end we, as Christ Followers, let God search our hearts for the results to be competitors for Him. He is the person that is our boss and, in the end, we’ll face His face one the day and be accountable if we served correctly, following the rules of soccer and God’s Holy Words.

To be better at what you do in your coaching ask yourself several questions:

  • Do I truly desire to achieve the goal of competing for God’s glory Biblically, or do I want the fame for myself, my players, my community and team to look useful to the world around you?
  • Do I have a pure of heart for competing God’s way, what will I do or say that may lead others to believe I am out for myself and not Jesus Christ even though I say, “I’m doing it all for Jesus?”
  • How can I better communicate Christ as my ultimate goal controller and developer to compete for Him and still be passionate about the game to be a big server of Jesus Christ?

After reading these questions, realized that while you truly have God-given desires to further His Kingdom through the game of soccer, there can still be pride in your heart that needs purging if all the glory is going to the Lord. It’s a daily practice as you’re not perfect and the devil wants more than anything to have you on his team and not Jesus. It needs to become your ultimate prayer that God would rid you of your pride and give you an immaculate heart to compete for Him. Once we start practicing our asking for God to help and achieve the right way to compete into our daily practices and match times, God will honor us with the desires of our heart to fight for Him and none other. You’ll be running the race (coaching the competitive soccer). Run well for Him!

What your next move?