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Devotional - Selective Hearing

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes engages coaches and athletes to grow in their faith and sport.

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Devotional - Selective Hearing

If at first you don’t succeed…
try doing what your coach told you to do the first time 

John Wooden, iconic former head coach of the UCLA basketball Bruins and winner of 10 national championships, had a unique way of communicating with his players during play. Taking a game program, he would roll it up using it as type of megaphone to magnify and differentiate his voice from the noise of the crowd. To the average fan his actions must have seemed more like a nervous habit than a tactical part of his game plan. But, not only was it clever, it worked! Even in the noisiest of arenas his players were able to hear his voice and run his plays. Genius.

On the court or on the field communication between player and coach is critical. Today hand signals, large picture filled placards and other methods are employed to insure the execution of the play call. Stadiums are filled with all manner of distractions and coaches are constantly looking for ways to cut through the interference. Without clear instructions players struggle and defeat is likely.

Communication between Coach Jesus and his players is even more serious. On the field of life, the outcome of getting the play call right isn’t for conference championships, but for eternity.

My sheep recognize my voice and I know who they are. They follow me and I give them eternal life. John 10:27 (Phillips)

Sheep is a nickname the Coach has for His players and He points out here that His players know His voice when they hear it. But, even so, there’s a communication challenge. Coach Jesus often said after He finished teaching,

Whoever has ears, let them hear. Matthew 13:43 (NIV)

Why did He say this? Were people experiencing a difficulty with their physical hearing? No. Unlike Coach Wooden’s players, Coach Jesus’ players suffer from more of a psychological problem, selective hearing. When we like the play the Coach has called we hear, when we don’t, we don’t.

We all have a driving desire to be in charge of the play calling for our life. We may hear the words, the sound, but act like we don’t because we don’t want to follow. “Hearing” the Coach is a choice. It’s a choice to follow Him and His game plan. It’s a choice to trust Him rather than yourself.

Executing His play calls actually sharpens our hearing. Ignoring His voice results in dulling our ability to hear Him.

It’s not always easy to run the play called and sometimes you might feel like the signals may be crossed. If you find yourself in this situation call a time out. Talk it over with the Coach. Get the play call right. Don’t let the speed of the game or any distraction come between you and Coach Jesus.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

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