I played organized soccer from the time I was four until I graduated high school. I even played in rec leagues through college as well. I have a true passion for the game, and I learned a lot from it. One of the most important things I learned, particularly through 4 years of high school soccer, was that my performance on the field was directly proportional to my preparation off the field.
I had an okay freshman year. I started the majority of the season, scored a few goals, and our team finished with somewhere around a .500 winning percentage. However, I had come in my freshman year, a little over weight and out of shape. I was relying mostly on my natural ability. This held back me and my team. My sophomore year, on the other hand, was the best year I ever had playing soccer. I was named the team captain after our preseason workouts. I started in the central midfield along side the other team captain. Our team also did much better, finishing second in one of the best high school soccer leagues in the state.
What was the difference between my freshman and sophomore year? I worked my tail off in the off season prior to my sophomore year. When no one else was watching me, I was working out and eating right. I completely changed my diet, and I was eating only healthy foods. I came into our preseason workouts 15 to 20 lbs. lighter than the year before. While everyone else was there trying to get back in shape, I was already in shape. I was able to focus on sharpening my soccer skills. When we took the field, I held nothing back. I boldly went after every ball with confidence. There wasn’t a player out there that I was scared to go against one on one, because I knew I had outworked that player in the off season. My performance not only lifted me, but the entire team around me.
Related Post: Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant
This is how we are supposed to approach our faith. What we do behind closed doors when no one is watching is directly proportional to the influence we have in our personal ministry to others. When we work tirelessly on making ourselves holy and removing sinful, life-draining habits from our own lives, we can be more bold in our approach to help others suffering through the same things. For example, it is very difficult for me to teach others how to defeat an addiction in their lives if I myself have not gone through that process of defeating my own addictions. I can’t boldly look someone in the eye and tell them that victory is possible, if I haven’t suffered through the process and seen that victory first hand in my life.
I hear people all the time ask for boldness in their prayer requests. They ask God to use them to reach others, to boldly proclaim the gospel, and for the courage to pray boldly for healing and deliverance. These are things we should all desire and pray for, but that boldness starts with holiness. Do you want God to use you to boldly advance his kingdom? Do you want him to use you to heal the sick and set the captives free? The extent to which he can use you to do such things will be determined by the extent to which you are faithful and obedient when no one is watching. Holiness leads to boldness.
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God,the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6: 20-23).
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6: 33).
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness (Matthew 25: 23)!