Read: I Peter 5:8-9; Hebrews 12:1-4

Sports are fascinating to me. I love the way a team works together. The memory muscle that develops over long periods of playing and practicing together inspires me, attracts me. I want to be a part of it.

But sports also discourage me. A team always plays an adversary – someone they want to overcome. It never fails that during a competition both teams heckle their opponent. Discouraging words meant to intimidate and demoralize volley back and forth. It discourages me; I don’t want to be a part of it.

In life we also face an adversary. There is an enemy of our souls who wants us to fail. He will use any method to turn us away from our goals. But sometimes, we are our own adversary. We rehearse all the ways we will fail or aren’t good enough and we remind ourselves endlessly.

But we also have a coach, a team, fans – those who are for us, who want our best, to see us succeed. They are the ones who have our back.

Listening to our coach or others on our side, guarantees that we will live confidently. The courage that results from listening to those who are for us often allows us to accomplish objectives beyond our natural abilities.

But it is so easy to listen to our adversaries rather than to our coach, team mates and fans. We get discouraged, demoralized and slip into a place of vulnerability. Losing hope in accomplishing anything worth value, we quit.

This week I want to challenge us to be aware of the voices that guide our actions. Are we listening to and encouraged by those who are for us? Or are we listening to and discouraged by the voices of those who oppose us?

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