faith

8.9.17 ~ Matthew 4:12-17

Matthew 4:12-17

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
    the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
    Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”

 

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

For the sake of this blog all of my posts will relate to coaching sports teams, even though this passage of Scripture (and all Scripture)  is useful in all areas of life. Just because I write with a certain audience in mind, doesn’t mean you can’t take this Scripture and let the Holy Spirit transform another area of you or your life.

I think the Holy Spirit is a good member of the Trinity to remember when we read and study Scripture.  I’m going to share my opinion and thoughts, but ultimately the Holy Spirit is our guide and our Present Teacher.  When we study Scripture let’s make sure we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come and teach us and help us to relate what we read to our lives.

There are two things from today’s passage that I want to mention.

As someone who needs his quiet and space, I appreciate that Jesus needed his space as well.  In verse 12 we read that when Jesus heard about John he withdrew.  Elsewhere in Scripture we see Jesus either withdrawing, or going off by himself (or with his disciples) to pray and spend time with God.  In today’s Scripture we see that Jesus withdrew to Galilee.

We aren’t told what Jesus did there, but we do know of the different places he lived and visited.  Part of the reason for his withdrawing was to fulfill a prophecy, and I have to believe that another reason was to just get away and rest.  As coaches I think modeling rest to our athletes is a good idea.  Of course you have to be under the belief and understanding that athletes, no matter their age, can’t train year round without taking breaks.  As coaches we can model rest in our own lives by how we scheduled periods of rest into a balanced routine, and we can also schedule rest for our athletes during and out of the season.  If we don’t our bodies and their bodies will break down and we won’t be able to “perform” at a high level.

I think that Jesus’ withdrawing also shows that He knew Himself well enough to know what He needed to do to recharge.  I know in my life there needs to be a good balance of activity and rest.  Even in busy seasons of life this is possible, and we constantly need to be reminded that it is okay to take care of ourselves and slow down every once and awhile.  Or slowing down might just be for a moment, but sometimes a moment is all we need.

In verse 17 we read that Jesus began to preach “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Another thing I like about Jesus is that His message never changed, from the beginning to the end of His earthly ministry.  Jesus knew His mission, He knew what the task at hand was, and He set out to do it.  I can appreciate Jesus’ unwavering pursuit of His mission, as He desired to reach people with the grace, hope, and love that we experience through our salvation  in Him.

A couple of things here. 1) As Christian coaches we have the same message to share as we point the people in our spheres of influence to the hope and truth of Jesus Christ.  This is pretty simple and everything in our life, including our words and actions, can point others to Jesus. 2) Jesus never wavered in his message.  I wonder how this relates to us as coaches?  I think this might mean that when we have a philosophy that we believe in, stick to it. I also think this means we are consistent in what we teach, how we discipline, how we encourage, how we interact with players, how we treat the officials, and more.  Consistency is important as we work with and seek to have a positive influence on the lives of young people.

I know here in Idaho that fall sports seasons are getting started in our public and private schools around the state.  My prayer is for there to be opportunity for young people to experience the greatness of sport and sportsmanship, while learning and having fun, building relationships with their teammates, and learning about Jesus or growing in their commitment and relationship with Him.  My prayer is similar for coaches.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day.

Wednesday Devotion ~ Matthew 4:1-11

Our Scripture reading for this week is Matthew 4:1-11, the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness before after He was baptized and before He started His ministry.

There are several nuggets for us to glean as followers of Christ and as coaches.

We learn in this passage that we, like Jesus, are to “stand strong” in the face of temptation.  When we are faced with temptation let’s remember to lean on God, and not turn our backs on Him.  The “tempter” will visit us, just like the “tempter” visited Jesus, and like Jesus we need to be ready to combat these attacks.  Jesus used Scripture to do this, and provides for us an example of why know Scripture in our soul is very important.  We may need to quote Scripture to refute the advances of the evil one, or at least utter the words “away from me Satan!”

I read that Jesus was a person of integrity and convictions.  Jesus did not go against what He knew to be true in God.  As coaches we are role models and are to set the example for the athletes entrusted to our care, just like Jesus did with His disciples.  We recognize a great need to have integrity as we coach our teams, making sure our yes is yes and our no is no, and making sure we don’t say anything we aren’t willing to follow through on.  I recognize the need to be willing and able to only ask and expect of our teams what we ask and expect of ourselves.  Let’s make sure we are modeling our moral integrity and convictions of faith and belief.

Jesus was focused on the eternal value.  He could have given in to the devil’s pleas on chosen a different path, but instead He looked at the eternal significance of what He needed to do and instead chose to honor God and focus on eternal value.  As we keep our focus on God and as we work with the athletes on our team as Christ-centered coaches we need to focus on the eternal ramifications.  The young people we coach are either already brothers or sisters in Christ, or potential brothers and sisters in Christ, and we need to interact with them as such.  We must understand that in the process of coaching we can’t say or do things that will harm the opportunity for our athletes to know the love of God.  We have to focus on the eternal, everlasting life with Jesus Christ.

To be sure we will be tested in our coaching and life endeavors as well.  I know I have been and will continue to be.  While I often don’t respond the most appropriately in times of trial and temptation, I believe my heart is in the right place and my goal is always to respond like Jesus has taught us.  Good think our learning is a journey and takes time to figure all of this following Jesus stuff out.

The other thing I see here as I wrap this post up, is Jesus’ utter dependence on God.  As follower of Jesus we need to do the same, as Christian coaches we need to do the same.  We, like Jesus, must have total dependence on God!