Don’t Fear…Take Courage!

In sport there are endless amounts of distractions that can pull your focus and attention off of the most important thing…the ball.

Some of these distractions can and will lead you to becoming fearful if you allow them:

* Worrying what other people think (scouts, coaches, fans, family, teammates, opponents…)
* Thinking about past mistakes
* Worrying about what might happen (future)
* Mechanics
* Scholarships and contracts
* Fear of failure or letting down teammates…to name a few

Unless we control our thinking by confidently focusing on the few things in our control (what’s important NOW) we become vulnerable to allowing the distractions and many things outside our control to steal that focus and our confidence that often cause us to start sinking quick…
Let’s look at an example of this in God’s Word in the gospel of Matthew.

Jesus Christ had just finished teaching God’s Word and then miraculously fed over 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes…with plenty of leftovers.

Quite the miracle! You’d think after hearing Jesus teach and seeing him perform that miracle his 12 disciples confidence in him would be soaring. Let’s see what happened…

Matthew 14:20-27 NIV:
20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,
24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

We learn quickly that Jesus Christ had no desire for his disciples to be full of fear. His instructions? Instead of being afraid…take courage!

How much fear do you think Jesus Christ wants you living with? Let’s keep reading…

Verses 28-29
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

It would be nice if the record stopped right there but it doesn’t. At that point, Peter had information to believe and act upon when Jesus said, “Come.” And for a time he did. And then…

Verses 30-33
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

What happened to Peter? He was doing so great when he kept his focus on Jesus’ directions to ‘come’ on the water even when the winds and waves were crashing all around him.

By taking his eyes off of Jesus and putting them on his surroundings…Peter allowed the fear and doubt to flood his mind which caused him to start sinking.

What did Jesus Christ say wavered in Peter? Not his ability to walk on water. It was his believing.

Fear is the enemy of believing. Keep your eyes fixed on God and His Son Jesus Christ and you’ll be able to whether any storms in life.

When you feel you’re sinking in life how quickly are you bringing your focus back to calling out to God and His Son Jesus Christ for help?

SPORT APPLICATION: In sport, realize what’s MOST IMPORTANT on every play and give your full focus to it. Be confident in your ability even when all around you seems to be falling apart. You’ll be the calm amongst the storm.

Do not allow even one drop of fear or doubt to cause you to sink. Instead, keep walking. (unless you’re a pitcher 🙂

Everything you do in sport and life do it with the full confidence that you will succeed.

It won’t be your ability that fails you. It will first be your believing in your ability to succeed that fails you…then your performance will follow suit.

There will always be distractions trying to cause you to doubt your ability to succeed. Remain calm amongst the storms and continue to believe in your ability to get the job done NOW.

You’ll rarely have your best stuff or feel 100% physically.

But believing isn’t dependant on ‘stuff’ or how you feel. It’s a mindset that can always perform at 100%.

Remember, 2nd Timothy 1:17 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Claim that power, love, and sound mind as a child of God. It’s yours. Then practice it and perform it.

PS… God’s Word doesn’t say Jesus carried Peter back to the boat. That means good ol’ Peter must have regained his believing and footing to get back to the boat safely even when the winds and waves were still roaring.

That’s how quickly you can regain your believing, too. It’s a thought and decision away even when the winds and waves seem to be crashing all around you on the field. Stay focused and you’ll stay calm.

Much love in Christ,
Ray III