Words to live by

by Keith Madison

Even the greatest competitors need encouragement. Some would even confess the need for extra strength while preparing for big game or a challenging season. Skeptics might say that faith is a crutch, but believers will tell you that trusting in God helps them focus, relax and to honor Someone much more important than the game itself. 

I reached out to a few fierce competitors and asked them to share one of their favorite verses from the Bible and why it resonates with them and inspires them as coaches or players. Here’s what they shared:

ANDY PETTITTE (Eighteen seasons with the Yankees and Astros…19 postseason wins, MLB record; Five World Series championships)

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

“I started using this verse about half way through my career. It’s a reminder of how we should always show humility. Being a professional athlete and having the success that I was able to have in my career, I think it’s easy to get a little prideful if you don’t have reminders like this. I never wanted to think that I was better than anyone else. I believe pride is something most men have to check every single day of our lives in every phase of our life…professional life and family life.”

BRAD MYERS (Head Baseball Coach, Grace Christian Academy, Franklin, TN)

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

“I am constantly on my guys about doing the right things. If you continually make good choices and do the right things, eventually good things will happen.”

NICK MINGIONE (Head Baseball Coach, University of Kentucky)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the LORD and not for men. (Colossians 3:23)

“This principle applies to all believers, for all those we work for: serve as if serving God Himself. Our ultimate rewards are with God, not the human beings we serve for only a short time. ‘Whatever’ includes any and all context. Christians of all kinds are to work ‘heartily,’ (with all our heart…with enthusiasm and passion!). Paul’s words remind us that, regardless of our position in life, God is ultimately judging all that we do, so all of our service is really for Him. We do not work ‘for men’ or simply earthly goals, but to glorify our heavenly Father and Master.’

ALAN DUNN (Associate Head Coach, LSU)

As iron sharpens iron, so does one man strengthen another! (Proverbs 27:17)

“This is a verse that I feel very connected to. I believe that, in our profession, we have a unique opportunity to help develop young men with their skill set on the field. How we coach them can translate into confident, competitive and consistent players. Equally as important, we have been given an opportunity to speak into their lives in a way that will strengthen them from inside out. The words we speak and the actions we do have a direct impact on what type men our players will be when they transition into having families and contributing to society.”

CASEY DYKES (Assistant Baseball Coach, Indiana University)

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:27)

“I believe as a coach the only thing truly influencing people is the example you set. It’s a visual learning society and when they see you leading by preaching your message consistently in your actions then they have true belief in your message. With social media and technology, it’s easy to read quotes and say the right thing, but people want to see your actions. They want to see the process that yields results, not hear about it. Everything you do on a daily basis is your lifestyle, not what you claim to believe is the right way it should be done.”

DAN McDONNELL (Head Baseball Coach, University of Louisville)

Greater love has no man than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

“This verse exemplifies why Christian coaches love team sports. We get to serve athletes and coaches while encouraging them to serve each other. Great teams love putting it on the line for their teammates. And when this happens, we get to witness remarkable accomplishments.”

What Paul said 2,000 years ago is true today: “The word of God is living and active…sharper than any double-edged sword…” Hebrews 4:13

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