Coach, you’re all about progress when it comes to your athletes and team. When you start practice, you say things like, “Let’s get better today.” Before each competition, you set goals for improvement both with individual athletes and with your team as a whole. The last thing you want is stagnation or regression. You desire movement forward.
Here’s a question: Do you have the same drive for progress in your relationship with Christ that you have when it comes to coaching your sport? In truth, as you’re moving forward with Christ, you’ll grow and improve as a coach. But if your relationship with Jesus is stagnant, you’ll miss becoming all you’re created to be and having the impact God wants your life to have. So how can you pursue the spiritual progress that leads to all-of-life forward movement?
In the opening chapter of 1 Peter, we see several elements that are essential for growth in relating to and living for Christ. We’ll look at some of these over the next few devotions. Here’s the first: progress is fueled by hope.
1 Peter 1:3 says this: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we are given “new birth” when we place our faith in Christ. Jesus rescues us from being eternally dead because of our sins and gives us new and eternal life – his resurrection life. And because of Jesus’ resurrection, we now have a “living hope.”
Hope is the confident expectation that something will happen in the future. The hope we have in Christ is “living” because Jesus is alive! He rose from the dead, he is at work in our life and in this world today, and he will fulfill his promises – even though we don’t yet fully see it. We need this hope because often present circumstances seem difficult and discouraging. But because of our hope in the Living Christ and what he’s promised he will bring about, we’re able to keep moving forward no matter what’s happening in the present. Hope fuels progress.
The more you’re characterized by hope, the better you’ll be as a coach. The 3Dimensional Coaching curriculum produced by Jeff Duke and the 3D Institute emphasizes the critical importance of fostering hope in your players: “When your players have hope for success in the future, this gives them the power to persevere in the present.” For your players to do the hard work needed to make progress day by day, they must have hope that progress is possible and will lead to future success. If you’re filled with the living hope you have in Christ, you’re far better equipped to encourage this kind of hope-filled mindset in your players.
Coach, keep the hope you have because of your faith in Christ front-and-center in your daily life. Let that hope fuel growth in trusting and following Jesus no matter what’s happening in the present. And out of that hope, encourage a hope-filled perspective in the players you coach. This hope for the future will empower them to persevere in doing what’s needed in the present. Progress is fueled by hope.
For reflection: Express praise and gratitude to Jesus for the living hope he’s given you through his resurrection. Ask him to help you keep the hope you have in him front-and-center in your daily life.