We are all a slave to something. On the surface this might seem like a tough thing to swallow in the land of the free and the home of the brave but it is really true. What we are a slave to is revealed in what we love most and it motivates us to take action through the things we say or do. Many of us are a slave to ourselves and as such we take action on things that make us feel good. This reality reveals itself in several ways through sports. Many of us out of a fear of getting yelled at by our coach – which doesn’t feel good – have tried our best to not mess up in practice. Many of us have also out of a fear of losing the game – which doesn’t feel good – have tightened up in the game’s most critical moments and have made critical errors that have cost your team and made your team think less of you – which also doesn’t feel good.
The problem with being a slave to ourselves and what feels good is:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
In Lesson 3 of Gordon Thiessen’s upcoming series “Called to Coach” it states that “When Scripture speaks of the heart, it’s speaking of your thought life, the core of your soul, where your thoughts operate.” When we are a slave to ourselves and what feels good, these thoughts deceive us into thinking that if it feels good then we should do it. This is the reason why a lot of people initially participate in sports – it feels good to think that everyone might tell you how great you are at something. The problem with this line of thinking is that the point of life is not for everyone to see how great you are…the point of life is for everyone to see how great God is.
In the context of the apostle Paul addressing the Galatians who were turning to a different Gospel other than trusting in Jesus alone for salvation he makes this statement:
“For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 HCSB
Paul claimed to be a slave of Christ because he had given his life to the one who had the authority to rescue him from what he deserved for his sin. The fruit of his life proved this to be true as he had turned from what made him feel good in pleasing people to making clear to the Galatians that he had “been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” – Galatians 2:19b-21
In view of God’s mercy and grace, we cannot continue to be a slave to ourselves and what feels good. The only worthy response to Jesus’ sacrifice in our place is that we would no longer live as a slave to ourselves but as a slave to the one who died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:15).
1. What is the fruit of a life that is a slave to one’s self?
2. What is the fruit of a life that is a slave to Christ?
3. What makes it possible to live as a slave of Christ?
4. Read Mark 8:34-38. Discuss its implications for salvation, sports, and the rest of life.Print this Page