“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”Deuteronomy 8:11-14
Navigating the ups and downs of a sports season will always be a challenge no matter how much experience a coach has. The beginning of the season is filled with excitement, anticipation, hard work and build up towards that first game that just always seems so out of reach. But once the season gets started, it’s amazing how quickly it flies by.
Every coach sets the goal that his team will improve and become better each week of the season, but one of the greatest landmines that a coach must avoid is the consequences of winning an early season blowout. After days of tireless work and pushing each player to do his best and hard fought close games, nothing can interrupt the growth and the development of your team and players like playing an overwhelmed opponent and blowing them out by a considerable score. Whether it’s the player that never gets on the field, scoring two or three goals late in a blowout when you’ve asked the team to stop scoring, or it’s the bad habits that emerge by not being pushed hard enough, there is nothing more challenging to navigate than the false sense of accomplishment by beating a weak opponent by a large score.
Prosperity in our lives – although we may consider it a blessing from God, can also be destructive and set us back from becoming all who He has designed us to be. As I’ve looked back on my life I’ve found that God has strengthened my faith more in items of adversity than in times of prosperity. In Deuteronomy 8 had Moses been a coach he might have warned his Israelite team of an upcoming blowout as they prepare to inherit the land that God has promised them and find prosperity that they have never before experienced. And, he might have cautioned them against the temptations of a prosperous condition and the consequences of forsaking God in it.
When we find success in the middle of our life or a season, the key is to think beyond that day and moment, and give thanks to God for the blessing, and also to not forget the importance of humility in the face of adversity which can deepen our faith, as it is difficult to grow to our full potential when we are comfortable and are not facing challenges at certain moments of our life. Moses shared these words as the Israelites concluded wandering in the desert for 40 years, and were about to enter the Promised Land. No matter what circumstances you face – whether you are in a deep valley of despair or on top of a high mountain, the key is to always remember to not have your heart become proud and forget about God, the Provider of all good things.
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.