by Shannon Caughey
I enjoy the videos that circulate on social media of a high school or college athlete achieving a new weightlifting max as they train for their sport. It’s fun to see the athlete make progress, but there’s another part of these scenes that I like even more. I love seeing the athlete’s teammates gathered around as he or she attempts a new max, urging the athlete on, and cheering widely when he or she succeeds. These teammates are truly invested in each other’s athletic growth. In fact, good teammates are a crucial component of helping an athlete get better.
Good teammates are just as crucial for helping us get better at living for Christ. As we’ve been considering in this series of devotions, growing spiritually is about doing the right things in the right ways with the right consistency – all by Christ’s grace and power. The Bible is clear that God did not design us to do this alone. We need teammates who are committed to the same goal, who urge us on, and who are invested in helping us grow. How do we develop these relationships? It starts with being the right teammate ourselves.
Hebrews 10:24-25 gives us a picture of what it means to be teammates who help one another grow: “24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” What do we learn from these verses about building the relationships needed so that we can help each other get better at living for Christ?
1. Be consistently present where you can build relationships with other Christ-followers.
The writer of Hebrews is clear: “let us not neglect our meeting together” (v. 25). A player who only sporadically shows up to practice or other team functions would struggle to form strong relationships with other members of the team. In the same way, we’ll only build strong relationships with other members of Team Jesus as we regularly participate in that community.
What does this look like practically? Be a regular, involved participant in a good local church. God designed the church to be the primary relationship-building, spiritual-growth-enabling community of his people on earth. Also, participate regularly in a smaller community like a Bible study group where you can build even stronger relationships. Being the right teammate starts with being present with others so you have opportunities to build relationships.
2. Be purposeful in helping others grow spiritually and seeking the help of others in your own spiritual growth.
Relationships in which we truly help one another grow spiritually require a purposeful pursuit of this goal. It takes more than hanging out and talking sports (as fun as that is)! Heb. 10:24-25 provides examples of what happens in purposeful relationships: we motivate one another to acts of love and good works, we encourage one another, and we remind each other of the unsurpassed importance of living for Jesus Christ – the King whose day of return is drawing near.
As a coach, it can be helpful to find a group of coaches, such as an FCA Coaches Huddle, in which there is a commitment to growing as followers of Christ. You can urge each other on to live for Jesus in the midst of the unique opportunities and challenges that come with coaching. You can help each other think practically about what this means, encourage one another to keep making progress, and hold each other accountable to your shared desire to honor the Lord.
Coach, God never intended you to go it alone. To grow spiritually, you need good teammates. Start with being the right teammate. This will give you opportunities to build strong relationships with people who will be wonderful teammates to you. Together you can keep getting better at living for Christ in all areas.
For reflection: Give thanks to God for the teammates he’s already put in your life to help you grow spiritually. Ask him to help you grow in being the right teammate to others. Pray for his guidance regarding the next steps you can take to keep building strong relationships.