Coach what’s true

by Shannon Caughey

In our culture we’re encouraged to “live our truth.” Affirmation is given to those who say, “I’m living my truth and you can live your truth.” Try to imagine how this would work in sports. A referee blows the whistle for out-of-bounds and the athlete responds, “For me, out-of-bounds rules are too constraining so I don’t believe in them. I’m just living my truth.” Or a coach confronts an athlete for failing to run the play that was called. The athlete replies, “I ran a different play because it felt right to me. I’m just living my truth.”

No referee or coach would affirm the athlete in these situations. The referee or coach would say, “Just because you think or feel something doesn’t make it true. What matters is the way things really are.” In sports and in life, truth is how things really are, not how we imagine or wish things to be.

As a coach, one of the best gifts you can give your athletes is speaking and living what is true. To do so in the most effective way possible, your life and coaching must be built on the ultimate truth. What – or, more accurately, who – is this? With his sixth “I am” statement in the book of John, Jesus makes it clear. 

In the opening verses of John 14, Jesus explains to his disciples that he is going to his Father (his Heavenly Father) to prepare a place for them. He says that they know the way to where he’s going. A disciple named Thomas isn’t so sure and asks for more information about the way. In John 14:6, Jesus responds with this “I am” statement: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’”

Jesus is claiming, “I am the way to the Father – the only way to God – because I am the truth and the life.” Jesus not only speaks the truth about God – he is the supreme revelation of God. Jesus is saying, “To know who God is and what God is like, look to me.” Jesus also not only speaks the truth about how we can have new and eternal life – he is the one and only source of this life. Jesus is saying, “To be rescued from spiritual death so that you can experience new and eternal life, trust in me.”

When we look to Jesus and believe that he really is the way to God because he is the truth and the life, we are not merely following “my truth” which may be different than someone else’s “truth.” We are building who we are and how we live on the way things really are. Through faith in Jesus, we can understand for ourselves and share with others what is ultimately true: about God, about how we have a relationship with God, about life, about the future, and about our meaning and purpose right now.

Coach, what a gift you give those within your sphere of influence as you speak and live what is true. You’ll have a transformational impact on your athletes and fellow coaches as you model the character and purposefulness that aligns with the One who is the Truth. You’ll point them toward genuine thriving as you share lessons about the life prescribed by the One who is Life. And you’ll make known to them the very best gift of all as you share the gospel of Jesus Christ appropriately and winsomely when he gives you opportunities.

Build your life and your coaching on what is ultimately true. Trust and follow Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

For reflection: Express your praise to Jesus for being the way to the Father because he is the truth and the life. Pray for wisdom and courage to live and coach for him, the ultimate Truth.

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