In May, I wrote about being a Proverbs 27 Coach. Today, on being a Proverbs 27 Athlete.
Pre and Post Game Interview
Players need to control what they tell reporters and Proverbs 27 says, “No boasting about your perceived outcome of tomorrow’s game (v 1), for it will become a burden on your playing (v 3). Praise others and let them praise you (v 2), for anger and jealousy will destroy the team (v 4).” You don’t need to be interviewed on television to follow this advice.
Accept the evaluation of your coach (v 6.) Your ego will not improve your skills, your humble acceptance that you can always improve will.
I found verse 7 exceptionally powerful today. Athletes often talk of staying hungry and this verse explains why: it taste sweet. When hungry, there is no room for bitterness or complaints and even minor victories become sweet. Stay hungry.
Be dedication to both yourself and the team (vv 8,9). “Lean on each other,” the dedicated athlete says. “And if you have a problem, come to me first, for if we stand together, we cannot fall–regardless of the score (v 10). For we are in this together (v 11).”
Iron Sharpens Iron
Though still pertaining to the practice field, I wanted a special section for verse 17. Everyone is familiar with this phrase, but what does it mean? We know what iron is, but the Hebrew word for it (barzel, 1270) can also mean strength. Strength brings more strength and strength is much more than muscles. The best example I found is from Facing the Giants. Watch this clip and you will see what I mean.
Now the final words before entering the field: “Don’t let the referees bother you, arguing with them is like restraining the wind and holding oil in your hands. Let it go (v 16). You know your job and have honed your skills. Your play will be a direct reflection of your belief in that preparedness (v 19) and nothing at all in the praise you have received (v 21). You have worked hard and your reward is on that field waiting for you to take it (v 18).”
The Athlete’s Reflection
Take time to gather your thoughts. Find of the weaknesses of the opposing team and play to your strengths (v 23). Live in the moment, for your playing days will end, but allow them to mold your future. Learn obedience, hard work, and diligence and forget excuses and doubt (vv 24-27).
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