Yesterday, a friend of mine and I had a great discussion from Romans 12. This conversation lead me to start to study and work towards applying the scripture to my life. As a cheerleading coach I felt the application worked wonderfully. I know that Paul wasn’t talking about all-star cheerleading, but I couldn’t help and see how well it fit within our community. I guess that’s how God works. What I would like to do is break chapter 12 of Romans into 4 parts. I will focus one blog on each part and apply the scripture both to the coach and to the athlete. I feel like this is going to help me, and hope that someone might get some encouragement from it as well.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, [a]acceptable to God, which is your [b]spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this [c]world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may [d]prove what the will of God is, that which is good and [e]acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
These two verses are kind of like an umbrella, or better yet, the foundation that everything following is built on. This is a huge statement that carries an incredible amount of weight. First thing I think about is when Paul said “…present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice…” When you think of sacrifice, or an “offering” as The Message says, what do you think about? What is it that God asks us for? One thing that I know is that God despises when we give Him our leftovers. God deserves our first and best. He wants us to come to Him and offer up the very best we have and nothing less. Paul says to offer our bodies as a sacrifice “acceptable to God…”(vs.1). This means that we are to give God the best of who we are, in all that we do we give Him our best. Nothing other than 100% effort is acceptable to God. So if we approach coaching and competing as an athlete as an act of worship as we give to God our all as a sacrifice that pleases Him, then we must give Him our very best every single day.
Second is the idea of not being conformed to the world. Not taking on the things that the world values. The Message says it like this:
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God… Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity… Romans 12:2 The Message
We as cheerleaders, better yet as followers of Christ in the industry of cheerleading should not be conformed to desiring the same things that the rest of the industry values. Status, trophies, and even winning are things that the immature in the industry are focused on. Don’t get me wrong, you compete in hopes of winning, but to be consumed by it and motivated by it is immature at best. In general our approach should not be motivated by winning or status, but by giving all as an act of worship to the Most High King! Allowing God to bless us and be satisfied in our sacrifice to Him will not only please Him but be a great testimony to the world around us. So, we have to change our thought process, “renewing of your mind…” to think differently than the rest of the world and focus on Him.
As a coach what are you using to motivate your athletes? Are you dangling the “winning carrot” in front of their faces to try and get them to work hard? Let’s transform our way of thinking and instead of using the superficial things of this world, lead them in giving a perfect effort every moment as a sacrifice pleasing to God. When you coach, also give a perfect effort and allow your coaching to be an act of worship to God. Approach your job as a sacrifice to Him, giving Him and them (athletes) your all. They will follow your lead, get winning out of your head and replace it with giving God 100% always as an act of worship. Doing this will lead to winning naturally, even if the score sheet doesn’t reflect it.
What are you motivated by? Are you thinking about being in the middle of everything, or winning that banner or trophy? Don’t worship the trophy that will collect dust, don’t worship the win, the glory will only last a short while. No, worship the one and Holy God with your perfect effort every time you take the mat. Offer your body as a sacrifice to Him, shift your thinking from the immaturity of the world to the pure and acceptable worship of the living and Holy God. You have the ability as a young person to inspire others to greatness, and that is found in Him, not in placement. Work hard, give a perfect effort in everything you do and the rest will be a byproduct of your hard work.
Change your approach, think differently, worship God with the wonderful sport of cheerelading. Your work, your coaching, your body is a living sacrifice. The question is to whom? Who or what are you worshiping?