Identity: secure in Jesus

March 17, 2024
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by Shannon Caughey

Coaching is filled with things that can push you toward feeling insecure. Are you winning “enough”? Is the critical email you received from a parent or booster just an isolated incident, or is it indicative of a perspective held more widely? How do you deal with the fact that your job security as a coach may depend upon the performance of teenagers or college students—or maybe even pre-teens?

If you’re looking to coaching sports as the source of your identity, the struggle with insecurity will continue. But as we’ve said several times in this series of devotions, your sport is not who you are. It’s what you do. God wants our understanding of who we are to be defined by Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. God desires that we would live and coach according to our true identity in Christ.

In these devotions on our identity, we’ve seen that in Christ we are a new creation, a child of God, chosen by God, and treasured by him. Here’s another wonderful truth about us when our faith is in Jesus: we are secure in him.

In John 10, Jesus speaks of himself as the good shepherd who willingly sacrifices his life for the sheep (vv. 11-15). Returning to the shepherding analogy in vv. 27-30, Jesus addresses just how secure those who trust and follow him are: 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

When we respond in faith to Christ and what he has done for us, our security is found in both the protection and the promises of Jesus. He assures us that he protects those who are his. We are held fast by a grip with double strength. No one can take us away from Christ, and no one can pry us out of the hand of God the Father, who “is more powerful than anyone else.” Not criticism from others, nor opposition to our faith, nor attacks from the enemy of our souls—nothing can undermine Christ’s protection and snatch us from the Lord’s double-strength hold. We are secure in him.

The protection of Christ is confirmed by his promises. Regarding all who trust and follow him, Jesus says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.” In his prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus clarifies what eternal life is: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (v. 3). To “know” in the Bible is more than intellectual understanding. It means having a close personal relationship with the one who is “known.” Jesus’ promise to us as his followers is that through him, we experience a close personal relationship with the God who deeply loves us, both now and for all eternity. While we still face physical death, we have spiritual life in Christ that will never end. Nothing in this world—no matter how difficult or painful—can threaten the life we have in this loving relationship with the Lord. The promises of Jesus assure us we are secure in him.

The world is filled with insecurity. You’re very aware of how this impacts your athletes. When you coach out of the security that comes from your identity in Christ, you offer your athletes something they desperately need. Rather than demanding that they perform so that you can feel more secure in your success as a coach, you’re free to love them well however they do in the competitive sphere. You prioritize their development as whole people, not just as athletes. You’re a stable, trustworthy presence in their lives—especially as many come from backgrounds affected by brokenness. In all of this, you have a chance to point them to life and healing in Jesus.

Coaching has plenty of insecure elements. But when your faith is in Jesus, Coach, your identity is sure. Live and coach out of the security of the Lord’s protection and promises.

For reflection: As you embrace your security in Jesus, what would change in your perspective on or approach to coaching? Talk with the Lord about this. Ask him to enable you to coach more fully out of your true identity in Christ.



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