Finding God's Winning Spirit


October 7, 2013 | Greg Smith | Sports


I often recall what my high school baseball coach used to tell us during infield practice. He would hit us ground balls, then yell, “Make the ball play you, don’t play the ball.” What he meant by this advice was, as infielders, we should never try to guess where the ball was going to bounce and then try to get there.  He wanted us to get in front of the ball, get set, and take what came.  He told us that if we attempted to guess where the ball was going to bounce, we would be on our heels and often out of position. One approach was based on doubt and uncertainty while the other was based on confidence and faith. The point here is that if we do not have a firm foundation and our lives are not based on the fundamentals of our faith, then we are constantly off balance.

An insecure “life stance” causes anxiety and leads to self-doubt. Anything that replaces God as our foundation is subject to decay, erosion and eventual failure.  In 1 Corinthians 3:11 we read, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (NIV).  We are “citizens of God’s kingdom” built on foundation of Christ, “Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20) (NIV).  Jesus built the Church on Peter (petros – the rock) who identified Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

In any diagram of balance there is a fulcrum and a lever.  The fulcrum is the base and the lever is the platform that is being balanced.  If the fulcrum is pointed then the positioning of objects on the lever is more critical – a wide fulcrum means more stability. If our fulcrum in life is money, ego, prestige or anything that attempts to glorify us, then our fulcrum is pointed and hyper-sensitive to what is being balanced.

For instance, athletes who base their lives solely on performance, winning, or personal accolades have a pointed and tentative fulcrum (foundation) upon which to balance their lives.  Christian athletes base their lives on the promises of Christ, according to the teachings of God’s Word.  Their value and sense of purpose does not depend on daily events or a particular outcome. Their fulcrum is wide and strong.

The fulcrum is the key element of balance because it is from this place all things are evaluated.  Just as the Christian athlete we need to make sure we play, compete or live our lives based on a solid foundation.  If what we deem to be important varies then all things in our lives shift as to importance. Keeping our eyes on the cross allows us to be consistent not only in what we believe but inevitably in what we do. In essence, our foundation or fulcrum is who we are at our core – it is how other people see us – it is our faith defined!


(Excerpt from Sports Theology – Finding God’s Winning Spirit

Great thoughts, Greg. I really appreciate how you intertwine the image of keeping your balance in sports with keeping your balance in faith and keeping your eyes on the cross. Well done.

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