Have you ever had a coach who didn’t shoot straight with you – whether it was about your prospects of earning a starting spot or your playing time or something else? Have you ever had a coach who made lots of promises but often failed to deliver? Have you ever been a coach who struggles to shoot straight with your players or who doesn’t always deliver on promises made?
There are lot of reasons why this happens. Being completely honest with a player may feel too uncomfortable or discouraging, so you avoid it. You can be well-intentioned when you make promises, but then something comes up that hinders you from following through. Whatever the case, failing to be genuinely honest or failing to deliver on promises undermines trust, erodes the coach’s ability to lead effectively, and creates doubt about the coach’s character.
Thankfully God is never like this, and he demonstrates this definitively when he comes to us through his Son Jesus – who is Immanuel, “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). Returning again to John 1:14, the passage we’ve been looking at over the last two devotions: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus Christ, whom John refers to as “the Word” (meaning, God’s ultimate self-expression), is both “full of grace” (which we looked at in the last devotion) and “full of truth.” Jesus is full of truth in that he always speaks what is true and always lives what is true, without exception. What Jesus says and demonstrates about who God the Father is, who he is as God the Son, who we are, how we can be forgiven for our sin and reconciled to God, how we can receive eternal life, what life to the full here and now is truly about, what the future holds – in all of this and everything else about Jesus’ words and life, he is full of truth.
But there’s more. John’s declaration about Jesus intentionally parallels God’s revelation about himself multiple times in the Old Testament: the Lord is “abounding in love and faithfulness” (e.g. Exodus 34:6). “Full of grace” parallels “abounding in love,” and “full of truth” parallels “abounding in faithfulness.” This means that not only is there nothing false about Jesus’ words and life, he is completely reliable and consistent. He is abounding in faithfulness. In every situation we can fully depend upon Jesus because he is full of truth.
Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, full of truth. Here are two implications for you, Coach:
- You can trust the words and work of Jesus at all times. This doesn’t mean you’ll never have questions or doubts. Hard things happen, you’re not always treated justly, and there’s no guarantee that wins and championships will come as you choose to coach in God-honoring ways. But you can bring your questions, doubts, and difficult circumstances to Christ, knowing that he is present with you. And you can trust that Jesus will be faithful to his loving, good, holy, gracious, and just character at all times. His words to you are true and his work in and through your life is real.
- Jesus enables you to be truthful and trustworthy. When you put your faith in Jesus, you can be completely confident that he is with you. Through his power and grace, he enables you to be both gracious and truthful – even in those coaching situations and life situations where this feels really stretching. Jesus also enables you to be wise in the promises you make and then to follow through on those promises – even as it requires sacrifice and humility. Your trustworthiness then gives people a glimpse of who Jesus Christ is, offering you the opportunity to point people to him.
During Christmas, rejoice in how God in Jesus has come to us. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, and he is full of truth. Have a wonderful Christmas, Coach!