Coachable

As a coach, you know the immense reward when you have athletes who are coachable. How does an athlete become truly coachable? It happens when he or she recognizes that they would benefit from listening to you as their coach. More than that, they realize that they need your coaching. They understand that they don’t have what it takes to become the player they want to be on their own. They need what you as their coach can provide.

We know the reward of having athletes who are coachable. Do we also experience the benefit of being coachable ourselves – especially in what matters most in life? What does it mean to be truly coachable, and how does this happen for us in the deepest sense?

In the last devotion we discussed how Jesus kicked off his public ministry by proclaiming that the Kingdom of Heaven (or God) is present because he, the King of kings, has arrived. The Kingdom of Heaven refers to God’s reign as King, now being carried out through Jesus Christ. To follow Jesus is to willingly surrender to his rule as the King over every area of our life, including how we coach.

What does it look like to coach and live under the reign of King Jesus? In what’s often referred to as the “Sermon on the Mount” because Jesus delivers this message while on a mountainside (Matthew 5-7), he teaches us about life in God’s kingdom. Jesus begins with these words: “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (Matt. 5:3).

When speaking today of “God’s blessings,” people often have in mind things like financial provision, good health, or success in their field – including athletic success. While these are certainly blessings, what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 5 is receiving the grace and favor of the King under whom we live. It’s the joy of experiencing the fullness of life that Jesus promises (John 10:10) when we willingly surrender to his reign over us.

Who gains access to this amazing blessing? According to Jesus, “those who are poor and realize their need for him.” Jesus isn’t talking about material poverty but rather spiritual poverty – that is, realizing our deep need for God while also understanding we bring nothing to the table that makes us deserving of God’s favor. Apart from the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ, we could never gain access to God’s eternal Kingdom. Yet when we come to him in our desperate need because of our spiritual poverty, God welcomes us into his Kingdom and into the fullness of life he desires for us – all because of Christ’s work, not ours.

Realizing our deep need for God makes us truly coachable. We understand that on our own we don’t have anything close to what it takes to become the person and coach God created us to be. We need Jesus: his work through his death and resurrection, his teaching, his leading, his empowering, his love and grace. Out of this need, we trust him and surrender to his reign over us as our King. In so doing, we experience the benefit of being coachable in what matters most. We receive life in God’s Kingdom.

Coach, does your life and coaching reflect the priorities and values of King Jesus? The first step is to turn fully to him in your need. Jesus promises God’s grace and favor to you when you are spiritually coachable. You can then be a channel of these Kingdom blessings to others.

For reflection: Take a moment to reflect on the truth that each of us deeply needs God. Acknowledge your need to him. Thank him for his grace and favor as you trust him as your King.