“We need something more. We need something to do. We say we compete for God’s glory but what does that look like?”
I love when my athletes make statements and ask question like that. Over the years many of my athletes have said something along those lines to me. It’s a thrilling moment. Why? Because the question reveals that the athlete has embraced Christ as their Savior and that they are ready to live out their faith. The question reveals that the athlete wants to compete for God’s glory and that they are ready ditch their selfish ambitions and embrace the highest and purest ambition a Christian can have: to glorify God. The question flows from a heart that loves God and wants to know how to put that love into action.
In my last post I talked about the fact that the size of your ambition dictates the size of your goal. For example, if your only ambition is to make a team that never cuts anyone the biggest goal you can have is “Don’t quit.” That’s not much of a goal and I think it falls short of who we are as bearers of God’s image designed to live for God’s glory.
The highest and purest ambition we, as bearers of God’s image, can have is to glorify God. We were created by God to glorify God in ways only image bearers can. As believers in Jesus Christ, as those who understand our need for a Savior and rest fully in what Christ accomplished on the cross and in the resurrection, our highest and purest aim in life is to live for the glory of the One who created and saves us.
Sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
1 Chronicles 16:23-26
What a profound honor and privilege we have to live (and compete) for the glory of God. But, remember that question that so many of my athletes have asked me? What does it look like to compete for God’s glory? Answering this question is where our ambition meets our goal.
When your ambition is to glorify God, you have a huge ambition. I many ways, there is no greater task. It has no end and when you really want to do it you’ll be excited to grow in it everyday. This means that it will greatly impact your goals. Big ambition equals big goal. So what is the ultimate goal for the Christian competitor whose ambition is to glorify God?
Pursue your God-given potential and become more like Christ in the process.
That is a big goal and it’s the answer to the question my athletes often ask me. It’s the practical everyday way you can Compete4Christ. Over the next several posts to the blog I hope to help you see just how massive this goal is, but for today I simply want you to understand that embracing this goal is the “secret” to success. When you make pursuing your God-given potential and becoming more like Christ in the process your ultimate goal you simultaneously make it your definition of success as well.
Huh? Allow me to explain.
A goal is something you are shooting for. It’s in the future. It’s where you want to go. You haven’t experienced success until you can look back and say you met your goal. So, if your goal is to pursue your God-given potential and become more like Christ in the process you have been successful if you can look back and know that you did. The Christian competitor has had a successful season when he or she can look back at the season and say with confidence “I pursued my God-given potential and became more like Christ in the process.”
Notice, this definition of success isn’t dependent on the scoreboard, playing time, or even staying injury free. For the Christian success is between the Christian and God. If you can look back on your season and say to God, “I pursued the potential you’ve given me and I became more like your Son in the process” you’ve been successful regardless of your win/loss record, playing time, individual or team accolades, etc.
So, what is the “secret” to success? It’s defining success Biblically. It’s understanding that God is far more concerned with your faithfulness, your attitude, your effort, and your character than He is with winning and losing, awards, and the like. In other words, the “secret” to success is rejecting our culture’s definition of success and embracing a Biblical perspective on what it means to be successful.
Like I said earlier, over the next several weeks I want to unpack this definition of success and help you see how it will help you in your quest to glorify God in competition. For now, take some time think through and pray over this definition of success. Are you ready to make pursuing your God-given potential and becoming more like Christ in the process your ultimate goal?