We’ve all probably seen the athlete that’s given so many rules by a controlling coach that he cannot play freely. He is told a rule for every situation. He’s not allowed the creativity to let his gifts flourish and develop. Sadly, the shackles of an overly controlling coach may not only stunt a player’s growth, but also prevent him from playing with the joy the game was meant to bring.
We talked at Coaches Bibles study recently about how we, in a similar way, can let fear and bondage keep us from experiencing the freedom we have in Christ as expressed in 2 Corinthians 3:17. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV) Understanding that 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us that God’s Spirit lives in us, I made the statement, “we don’t deal well with freedom.” Then I referred to the children of Israel longing to return Egypt rather than staying the course with God. Think about it. They were being oppressed and afflicted as slaves. God not only liberated them from this affliction, He provided anything and everything they needed and wanted. They wanted water, He brought it from a rock. They wanted food, He provided manna. They wanted meat, He made birds fly into the camp. Yet, they constantly longed to return to Egypt; slavery and affliction. They did not deal well with freedom.
In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul was reminding the people that the Holy Spirit gives us liberty (freedom). He’s reminding them because they were being deceived into choosing the slavery and affliction of the old covenant. The old covenant’s only purpose was to show us we are sinners and couldn’t keep it all. And, we do the same things. For example, in our context of coaching, many coaches/athletes claim to be superstitious. We make ourselves slaves to a routine, a piece of gum, a lucky tie, or something of the sort. Or maybe we don’t claim a superstition, but if we lose a game, we think somehow we didn’t deserve to win because God was unhappy or dissatisfied with what we did or didn’t do earlier in the day (in other words, our sacrifice or obedience was not acceptable). We even enslave ourselves and our self-worth to our win/lose records. We don’t deal well with freedom.
We don’t deal well with freedom because we forget what we are free from, and what we are free for. We are free from the bondage, slavery, and fear of having to adhere to a set of rules that only served to condemn us and prove we can’t ever keep all the rules (or satisfy all the people). Our human nature screams to our hearts that we must earn the love of God with good works, but God’s Spirit has given us freedom from works. We are free to grow into the fullness of who God created us to be without fear, and to experience the joy of being in relationship with Him. Of course, there are rules and routines we must adhere to for the sake of good order and discipline. But, if we can learn to deal well with our freedom, we will truly experience the fullness of joy that God has for us. As coaches, we will truly enjoy what we do and why we do it. And, our athletes will enjoy playing the game and working hard. That is true freedom, and that is God’s desire for us. Let’s be free.
Guest Devo by Tyron Wright, former Air Force Academy player (’00) and coached 12 seasons on the Mens Basketball Staff at the Academy
Posted on Fri, June 2, 2017
by Andrew Powell