“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
-1 John 3:1 (NIV)
Splashing furiously, I tried desperately to outswim my younger sister. As I reached through the water with every ounce of strength in my 16-year-old body, my lungs and muscles burned. I looked up at the clock. She’d beaten me…again. I was crushed. The pain my body experienced couldn’t compare to the pain I felt inside—the jealousy and anger and failure. Nothing mattered except the reality that I had lost to my fiercest competitor.
Have you ever experienced the pain of defeat? It’s hard to prepare so hard for competition only to fall short of your goal. But sometimes our goals aren’t aimed at pleasing God as they should be. My goal had been to defend my pride and my status as a winner. And when we take our eyes off of God, we will always fall short. In fact, we all fall short of the glory of God in some way.
Watching the Olympics shows us so many examples of how even the best athletes in the world fall and make mistakes. They spend years training to hone their skills, but, even then, they aren’t immune to defeat.
As a teenager, my sport was everything to me. My identity was wrapped up in my victories and defeats. How well I performed determined how valuable I was. It’s easy to rely on yourself, your coaches, teammates, competitors or family members to determine your worth as a person. But none of them can establish your true value.
The truth is that God created you and loves you as His child regardless of what you do as an athlete. Reread 1 John 3:1 from above and trust in the truth today.
1. Do you find your identity in your sport, grades, job, family or anything else apart from God?
2. Do you believe that God loves you no matter what you accomplish or are you trying to earn His approval and love?
3. What does His Word say about His love for you?
4. What thoughts or beliefs do you need to change in order to rest in His love?