Live Inside Out: Conviction

Some coaches are always trying to incorporate whatever the latest fad is in their sport – whether it’s a new offensive scheme or training technique or team-bonding exercise. As soon as they hear of something that seems to be working for another coach, they abandon what they’ve previously done and try this new thing. Other coaches have developed certain convictions that drive how they coach year after year. They keep looking for ways to improve, and they’re willing to tweak their approach based on ongoing learning. However, they rarely stray from their core convictions about what’s essential for what they want to accomplish.

From what I observe, coaches who have a clear set of convictions and stick to these convictions are significantly more successful over the long haul. Coaches who always follow the latest fad are allowing outside voices to determine what’s important for their program – and the principles emphasized with one fad are often chucked when the next fad arises. Soon the athletes under this coach will be unsure about where to focus. A lack of conviction leads to confusion and ineffectiveness.

The same is true in life: developing and sticking to the right set of convictions leads to the right kind of success. This is another crucial component of living inside out. In the last devotion, we began exploring what it means to live inside out: to have the transforming work of Jesus Christ at the core of who we are determine how we think, speak, and live – rather than external factors like others’ opinions or cultural pressures. The Bible points to a number of important factors for cultivating inside-out living. We already looked at connection: staying vitally connected to Jesus Christ through a growing relationship with him. A second factor is conviction: having a set of unshakeable beliefs that guide how we live and coach.

How do we develop and stick to the right set of convictions? Paul coaches Timothy in this in 2 Timothy 3:14-16 – 14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

According to this passage, what’s required for having the convictions needed for living inside out includes these three things:

1. Let Scripture define and shape your convictions. Through the Bible, God shows us what’s true about himself, how we can experience salvation and life through trusting Christ, and what it looks like to live out our relationship with Jesus according to God’s good design. In all of this, Scripture clarifies for us what’s most important: the priorities, values, and purposes that are to define how we live and coach. Let the Bible form and shape your convictions.

2. Reinforce your convictions through spending time with and learning from other committed Christ-followers. Timothy benefited from the people in his life who taught him the Scriptures. We need people like this in our life so that we’re strengthened in understanding biblical convictions and knowing how to live out these convictions. Being involved in a local church that teaches the Bible is critical. Studying the Bible with other believers, such as a group from your church or an FCA Coaches Huddle, is another significant way to keep learning. It’s important to keep reinforcing your convictions – especially since you live and coach in a world that can be unfriendly toward these convictions.

3. Deepen your convictions through ongoing practice. Paul puts it this way to Timothy: “you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught.” You coach your athletes to faithfully practice certain skills so they develop “muscle memory,” making it much easier to perform these skills even in pressure situations. As you faithfully practice making decisions and taking actions based on your convictions, you’re developing “muscle memory” that helps you live and coach out of your convictions even when there is pressure to do otherwise.

Having a set of unshakeable beliefs is a crucial component of living inside out. Look to Scripture to clearly define your convictions, spend time with Christ-followers who will reinforce your convictions, and faithfully practice applying these convictions to how you live and coach. Developing and sticking to the right set of convictions leads to the right kind of success over the long haul.

For reflection: Consider whether you’re coaching and living out of a core set of convictions that come from the Bible. What is a next step for you to either gain greater clarity about the convictions God wants to define you or to strengthen your practice of these convictions? Ask the Lord to help you take this next step.