Time Out: Devotion from Bowden's story

"Pressure on Every Side"
by Janet Goreham

“So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

In July 2007, SI.com writer Stewart Mandel ranked Clemson Head Football Coach Tommy Bowden the third-worst coach in the country. To Mandel’s jab in the gut, Coach Bowden responded with humor saying that he always wanted to be in Sports Illustrated.

Bowden can confirm that criticism is one of many unpleasant aspects of being a coach or an athlete—maybe it’s just an unpleasant part of being human. But, more often than not, the pressure in competition can often be overwhelming. But, where does this pressure come from? The Bible mentions quite a few things that we can expect from the Lord: inheritance from the Lord (Col. 3:24), salvation from the Lord (Jonah 2:9), grace and peace from the Lord (Rom. 1:7), etc.

But, the Bible says that pressure comes from the world, not from God. Luke describes the crowd as it pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus (Luke 23:23); Paul talks about the pressure and persecution he suffered from adversaries of the church (2 Corinthians 4:8); The psalmist cries out to the Lord in response to pressure from the wicked (Psalm 55:3). Pressure and criticism that comes from the world destroys lives, vision and potential. 

The Bible promises that anyone who is in Jesus Christ is free from all condemnation (Rom. 8:1). This includes condemnation from the world: fellow coaches and athletes, media, family, friends, etc. Next time you feel the pressure building up on every side and your shoulders getting heavy, speak 2 Corinthians 12:10 to yourself and remember that you have been set free from all pressure through our Lord Jesus Christ.  

1. Have you ever felt as if the whole world was against you? Where did you turn?
2. Make a list of your priorities. Where does God fall on that list?
3. How do you handle pressure in your sport? Do you listen to what the world says about you? Or do you listen to what God says about you? 

Romans 1:8
Philippians 3:8
Psalm 27:1
Hebrews 13:5-6

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