Facing the best pitcher in the nation this weekend reminded me of what playing my game is all about: Competing for His glory, win or lose.
When I say the best pitcher in the nation, I mean, she pitches for the USA team. As if that weren’t enough, three of their hitters, she included, are All-Americans. The team will likely make it to the World Series, if not win it all. To top it all off, we were playing on their field and in their comfort zone.
With all this being said, what does it mean to compete for His glory?
It means that win or lose, no matter the outcome, I leave the field with my head held high remembering that is my purpose.
Does God need me to play for His glory? No, actually, not at all. See, God is already glorious, and there is nothing I can do to give Him more glory or take any of His glory away. God doesn’t need me. And this is a good thing, because if you knew what was going on in my heart and mind during a game, you would know that I struggle to play every moment according to how a “good Christian” would.
It’s hard to love my team and my coaches when we are losing. It’s hard to have joy when we lose by eight runs in two straight games. It’s hard to have peace when you are constantly failing and you fear not living up to expectations. Patience only lasts a few strikeouts or a few bad games. It’s hard to be kind and compassionate when all you want to do is rip off your opponent’s head. Goodness doesn’t come easy when at times I say un-glorifying things or words when I am so intense and locked-in to the competition. It’s hard to be faithful in humility when you must think of yourself as higher than your opponent in order to win. Gentleness? Ha. And lastly, self-control to continually remind yourself that you are not playing for yourself, and your individual statistics do not matter.
Galatians 5:22-23 says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Lucky for us, the fruit of the Spirit is not just emotions that, if we were truly abiding in Jesus, we would simply have all the time. Rather, they are character traits of God Himself.
In my Bible Study last week, I was reminded that, “God is unconditional love, perfect joy, constant peace, unending patience, genuine kindness, total goodness, consistent faithfulness, true gentleness, and absolute self-control.”
When I say I can do nothing by my own strength, I mean this completely. Like John 5:30 says: “By myself I can do nothing.” I cannot produce any of these character traits on my own, in competition or any other aspect of my life. It is only by God, by Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Spirit that I can do any of this.
John 15:4-5 says: “No branch can bear fruit by itself: it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me… apart from me, you can do nothing.”
I am not necessarily competing for His glory on my own accord, but I am competing by His glory. Because it is by Him alone that in the third game of the series, I can have a renewed mind, and after I get my first base hit of the weekend, I give Him the glory in my heart rather than taking it for myself.
I am competing for His glory because I am carrying the name of Jesus everywhere I go, in everything I do. I want all to know that none of my righteousness or success is by my own strength. (Philippians 4:13) But, before I can fight for His glory, I do it all by His glory and by His grace.