Essentials for the new year: faith

January 9, 2024
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by Shannon Caughey

When you begin a new season as a coach, you focus on the basics. Even if your athletes are very familiar with the foundational skills of your sport, you return to them during those first weeks of practice. You know these skills are essential for competitive success. Everything else is built on performing them well. That’s why it’s so important to emphasize them again—especially at that start of the new season.

The start of a new year is similar to the start of a new season. This is a good time to return to the basics. In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, the Apostle Paul commends three qualities that are essential to living for Christ in every area, including coaching: “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” In this and the following two devotions, we’ll consider these essentials: faith, love, and hope. Let’s start with faith.

Coaches frequently talk about “trusting the process” or “believing in our philosophy.” Faith plays a central role in coaching. Contrary to popular notions, however, it takes more than “just believing.” Faith is only as good as its object. If a coach’s process or philosophy is in reality not very effective, it doesn’t matter how much faith you put in it. It is not going to lead to success. Faith is really important, but it must be faith in the right things.

In the same way, the faith Paul talks about in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 isn’t about trying really hard to believe in something. It’s about recognizing what—or more accurately, who—is worthy of being the recipient of our confidence. Jesus Christ is supremely worthy of being the object of our faith. He’s worthy because of who he is, what he’s done, and what he’s capable of doing in the present and future.

We trust Jesus because of who he is: Son of God, Savior, Lord over all, and the King whose reign is unrivaled and unending. We believe in Jesus because of what he’s done through his sinless life, his death on the cross for our sins, and his resurrection from the dead—demonstrating his victory over sin, death, and the enemy of our souls. We are confident in Jesus both for what’s happening in the present and what will happen in the future because we know his authority, power, wisdom, love, grace, etc.

Among the amazing truths listed about Jesus Christ in Colossians 1:15-20, we learn that “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God,” that he “is supreme over all creation” that “he existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together,” and that “God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ.” There is no one greater than Jesus Christ!

When we make Jesus Christ the object of our faith, we’re now trusting his work in and through us—including in our coaching. We live for Jesus, seeking to reflect his character and his ways as we coach. We trust his presence with us and his promise to enable us to lead and serve our players well. As we carry out our work as a coach, it’s fueled by our confidence in Christ. We trust that Jesus will bring about long-term results by his power and grace as we care for our players and intentionally guide them toward becoming people who live the right way, not just athletes who make the right plays.

Faith is essential for being successful in what matters most as a coach. As you begin a new year, resolve to make Jesus Christ the object of your confidence above all else. Daily commit yourself to trusting and following him. May all you do as a coach truly be “work produced by faith.”

For reflection: Consider who or what is currently the object of your faith. If it’s anything other than Jesus Christ, commit to renewing your trust and confidence in him. Ask Jesus to help you grow in this essential quality of faith in him in the coming year.



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