Finding God's Winning Spirit

Aim Small Miss Small

August 15, 2014 | Greg Smith | Focus

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The amateur golfer who tees it up at the 17th tee at TPC Sawgrass sees a daunting sight – laid out before them is a green surrounded by water.  Now that is not to say that a professional golfer’s pulse does not race a little too (especially on the last day of a tournament) but there is a major difference. The amateur sees trouble (water) everywhere while the professional golfer sees the flag. The pro-golfer has learned that to play well he or she must focus on the target and not be distracted by the potential impending doom.

The athletic lesson here is that whatever we tend to put in our minds is where we go. If we fear dropping a ball or missing a free throw then the likelihood of that happening goes way up.  Sports Psychology addresses this by teaching athletes to envision success, to see the ball being caught or the shot being made. Sports Theology likewise teaches that being distracted by a possible bad outcome hinders success. The difference is that the Christian athlete knows that they are gifted, prepared and confident that no matter what happens they are fulfilled and blessed.  Both of these approaches allows the athlete to focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by negative thoughts or fear.   

As is quite often the case, sport parallels theology and theology proceeds psychology.  The New Testament teaches us about focus and distraction in the Sea of Galilee. It is here that Peter walks on water until he takes is eyes off his target – off Christ. 

In Matthew 14:30 we read, “…. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me.” The lesson here is the same as in athletics, which is; whatever we put in our minds is where we tend to go. We are told to keep our eyes on the cross or we will (be distracted) lose our way.

  

(Excerpt from Sports Theology: Finding God’s Winning Spirit)

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