1 Corinthians 9:26 I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
Dr. Art Markman wrote an article entitled: “Elite Athletes Listen to Their Coaches, Do You?” It’s a really interesting read. He begins the article with his observation of Olympic athletes. Markman noticed that these athletes, who had often trained for decades and were experts in their sport, spent significant time conversing with their coaches and seeking their advice during competition. Markman noted that these elite athletes conferred with their coaches, reviewed strategy and made necessary adjustments.
Markman commented that while some athletes communicate effectively with coaches, many others are unable to do so. He spent time uncovering why it is difficult for many athletes to receive input from a coach. He determined that there are two primary reasons that athletes may resist the advice of others. Firstly, he recognized that getting advice requires the admission that we might be wrong, and “it is difficult for many people to separate their ideas and plans from their sense of self”. Secondly, Markman noted that when we set out a course of action, we have reasons why we have decided on that plan and when someone else gives us advice, we are less certain of their advice than we are of our own decisions.
Similarly, as Christians, while we should be in communication with our coach on a regular basis, we seem to resist that constant interaction with God. Are we afraid that if we listen intently to God, maybe he will rebuke or correct us, and we have no interest in that? Is it that we are unwilling to sometimes admit that what we want may be wrong or not the ideal that God has planned (I know I have definitely felt that way before). Or is it that we are unwilling to open ourselves up to God’s plans for our lives? God says: “11 For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)”. Do we really believe the scriptures? If we did, we would not fear hearing from God, fear from communicating with him, because he has good in store for us.
What is the point of saying we are a Christian if we are unwilling to regularly communicate with the coach of our team? Will you choose to run around aimlessly, or will you be a man or woman of prayer who competes with a purpose?
Commit today to saying: “I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” (1 Corinthians 9:26). Be a player who listens to the coach and competes with purpose. Develop a relationship with the greatest coach in the universe by living a life of continual prayer (which really means talking to God throughout the day, like you would a friend). As renowned preacher John Wesley once said, “”Prayer is where the action is.” As an athlete, you’re wired for action, so choose today to join in the game with your coach.