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Winning

By Robbie Trent, FCA Area Rep

In sports, evaluation is constantly occurring. Many times, you don’t exactly know why or on what basis you’re being evaluated. You may be running up and down the basketball court thinking everything is going well. Then at the next stoppage of play, one of your teammates is waiting at the scorer’s table to replace you. At that moment, you realize your coach was evaluating you the last couple of minutes you were on the floor. The substitution may have been because of something you did or failed to do. It’s difficult to know.

Questions may swirl around in your head: “What did I do wrong?”, “How can I improve?”, “What do I need to do to be successful in your eyes, Coach?”

The problem is that each and every coach you play for may answer those questions differently. Because the world’s perspective is a shifting scale, it’s important to see what God’s Word says.

Colossians 1:9-14 (NIV)
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Paul states the thesis of Colossians and the highest calling for our lives in 1:10, praying that we “live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.” Since Christ is the only one who has ever lived a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way, Paul is calling us to have the goal of being like Christ. This quickly becomes an impossible task when we realize that a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way is to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48), yet we all have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).

Through “repentance,” turning from sin to God, “and belief,” a full trust in God making Christ, “who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that we might become” His righteousness (Mark 1:15)(2 Cor 5:21), we may know we are truly qualified to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light (Col 1:12)

We determine how successful athletes are by how well they accomplish the goals they set. So how do we evaluate the success we’re having in becoming more like Christ?

God plays a crucial role in this evaluation process through the Holy Spirit who seals us for salvation (Eph 1:13-14) and to teaches, reminds, and helps us live in truth for sanctification (John 14:26 and 2 Tim 1:14).

Our role is to test our fruit and grow in the knowledge of God (Col 1:10)

1. As you face setbacks, are you typically: frustrated, disappointed, apathetic, fearful, etc.? Why? What were you basing your success on?

2. What did you learn about the character of God through that instance?

Abiding by the Spirit isn’t supposed to be a rigid, fearful, or legalistic pursuit. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Gal 5:17 says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Darrin Patrick says, “There’s a civil war going on inside us.” As the flesh is constantly waging war against the Spirit, we may not be at a place right now to be able to acknowledge that each second, but we need to fight to die to the flesh and live to the Spirit throughout each practice and game.

Gal 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” The fruit is interdependent and can’t be separated. When the Spirit is in charge of your life, all of the fruit come through your attitude and actions. Therefore, you’re only as mature as your weakest one on the list. Gal 5:24-25 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

1. How confident are you in your relationship with God through the Holy Spirit?
2. What would have to happen in your heart to understand your need to repent and believe?
3. Why would you need to depend more upon the Holy Spirit?
4. When is a specific time in today’s practice/game you can ask yourself the two evaluation questions above?

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