by Shannon Caughey
Consider this question: What best describes the kind of coach you are? There are a number of ways you might respond. Maybe you think of yourself as an old-school coach or perhaps an innovative coach. You could see yourself as a players’ coach or a coach who relies on analytics. For followers of Jesus, however, a far more significant description of what is true of you—and what you can aspire to live out daily—is this: “I’m a Romans 8 coach.”
Romans 8 has been called one of the best-loved chapters of the Bible. It is filled with needed reminders and rich promises for us who have responded in faith to Christ. Central to what the Apostle Paul emphasizes in the chapter is that we have been given the Holy Spirit. The moment we surrendered in faith to Jesus, God’s Spirit came to dwell within us—and this is a game-changer for every dimension of how we go about life and coaching. As we embrace the truths of Romans 8—when we pursue being a Romans 8 coach—deep joy and fulfillment awaits us.
What does it mean to be a Romans 8 coach? Over the next several devotions, we’ll dig into this much-loved chapter of Scripture and listen to what God is saying. Let’s start with v. 1: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
As a coach, you’ve likely experienced various forms of condemnation. Maybe you’re currently dealing with this. Judgement and criticism can come from fans or parents of your athletes. Perhaps you’re even harder on yourself than others are on you. What then does it mean that “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus”?
A few chapters earlier, Paul expresses it this way: “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Rom. 5:1). Later in Romans 8, Paul further explains why we are free from condemnation: “Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (v. 34).
When we respond in faith to Jesus Christ and what he’s done through his death on the cross and his resurrection to life, we are made right with God. We now belong to Christ Jesus: the penalty for our sin has already been paid by Jesus, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus has been applied to us. In God the Judge’s sight, our status is “not guilty.” Rather than experiencing the condemnation we deserve for our sins, we have eternal peace with God!
Other people may still harshly criticize us. The enemy of our souls certainly tries to heap condemnation on us. But none of this affects our Heavenly Father’s estimation of us. He instead is listening to his Son who is at his right hand, “pleading for us.” Far from condemning us, Jesus is actively advocating for us, speaking to the Father on our behalf for our good. Jesus is reinforcing what is true about our identity—we belong to him and his righteousness is applied to us—and working together with his Father to enable our growth in living out our true identity.
What freedom, security, and encouragement this gives you as a coach! There will still be outside voices that are critical of you. An internal condemning voice may still vie for your attention at times. But these voices need not define you or drag you down. Instead, turn to the One whose perspective matters most and remember what he says: “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Coach and live for him. No matter how the world evaluates whether you are successful, you are secure in being made right with God. Coach and live out of the peace of belonging to Christ, confident that he is even now advocating for you.
Such joy and fulfillment are yours as you embrace the truth of Romans 8 for you and your coaching! This is what the Lord desires for you, Coach.
For reflection: Express your gratitude to Christ for what he has done for you, making you right in God’s sight and giving you peace with him. Pray that this truth would sink down more deeply into your mind and heart: “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”