Summer 2024

Devotional of the Week: Playing with Intention

“If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

Playing with Intention

One thing I’ve learned while living in the professional sports culture is, in general, sports are performance-based activities. Fans tend to flock to the players who perform well, but are quick to disapprove of any player who doesn’t perform up to their expectations. And since the coaches make important decisions after evaluating an athlete’s performance, the athlete may feel like he or she should play to gain the approval of the coaches, team managers and spectators. But, if we play (or work) with the intention to gain the approval of others, regardless of our talent, performance, likability, or circumstances, we will live a life of disappointment. No matter how well we perform, we will always experience some sort of criticism and disapproval, which can make us feel disheartened and inadequate.

Galatians 1:10 reminds us that, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” When we can learn to adjust our intentions from playing to please others to playing to serve the Lord, the pressure of performing perfectly will decrease and praising the Lord will increase. And when we do this, the focus of our intentions is suddenly taken away from us and placed onto God. Once we realign our heart’s intention to work to the please the Lord, our need for approval subsides and our confidence is no longer grounded in the inconsistency of others’ opinions. In doing this, we can find confidence in knowing that whatever the outcome, God is fulfilling His will in our lives and in the Kingdom.

By Hope Zeller, DistinXion Staff

Hope Zeller works at DistinXion, a non-profit organization founded by the Zeller family to provide a way to integrate elite character and sports training to help build family relationships. This devotional was taken from Sports Spectrum’s latest Training Table, a 13-week devotional published in each print issue. Log in HERE to view the Fall 2015 print issue of Sports Spectrum.