A few weeks into my first semester of college, which also happened to be the first few weeks of intense conditioning with my team’s strength coach, I was sitting on a bench outside my dorm reading my Bible between class and softball practice. The routine of daily reading had not yet become natural, and I experienced the Lord speaking directly to me in a way I never had before. I was reading Colossians 3, and as I got to verse 23, it’s almost as if the words leaped right off the page. For the first time, I could not have been more certain about my purpose in this life.
In all honesty, although I had considered myself a Christian born and raised, it was this first semester of freshmen year when Jesus Christ truly became Lord of my life.
How so? He renewed and transformed my mind into much of what Paul talks about in Colossians 3. My mind was no longer set on honor and success in my sport, but on things above (Col. 3:2). My worth was not based in how I preformed that day in practice. It seemed I had died, and my previous life was now hidden with the Lord. (Col. 3:3) It’s true I once walked in those ways, in the life I once lived—when I placed my entire identity into being an athlete—however, it was at this time in my life when I became new and transformed.
This did not mean I stopped caring out my performance or winning. Instead, it made me work even harder everyday to be the best I could be. Not for myself, but because giving my all would be glorifying to my God.
Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
I can not tell you how many times I repeated this verse over and over again in the middle of a workout that semester—whether it was holding a plank, running sprints, doing pull-ups—this verse made it so nothing my strength coach commanded would seem impossible.
With every workout, yes there is a part of me that pushes through to the end for myself. There is a little bit more of me that will work hard until the end for my team and my coaches. But above all, I persevere physically and mentally for my love of the Lord Himself because that’s what I would do in any area of my life, on or off the field.
I once asked myself the question: why do I spend 20+ hours a week playing a sport when I could be doing ministry, missions, or something else that would “glorify God more”? But He states it right here in His Word. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it with all your heart.
After all, He is a Creator that takes joy in watching His creation do what he or she loves.
Therefore, every day when I walk in the weight room or on the softball field, I know that I am going to put all my heart and everything I have into that day, because He has promised me that if I do so, His name will be glorified. This is one way I work for the Lord, and He is receiving glory in so many ways… most in ways I do not even realize.