Week 14- Confidence Produces Joy

MONDAY — Read the passage with your team. 

      1 The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?

   2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.  3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

   4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

   6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

   7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.  8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”  Your face, Lord, I will seek.  9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.  10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.  11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my  oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.

   13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27

What does this passage have to say about joy?

Why is that important?

TUESDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

1) In verses 2 and 3 the psalmist (King David) claims confidence, even in the face of what?  Why does he claim this, according to verse 1?  Do you think this is David’s first battle, and he is just hoping that God will come through — or is his           confidence based on experience?  When David describes God as “the stronghold of [his] life,” why does he do so with no fear?  Is David confident in a God that  someone has told him about, or a God that he knows personally and whose saving goodness he has experienced personally?  On what is confidence based; is it just a feeling, or is it something more?

2) Because of his confidence in the Lord, what does David do (v. 2)?  Is his a       confidence expressed primarily in words, or does something accompany those words?  True confidence, you see, expresses itself in action.  As an athlete, are you confident enough in God’s love for you to “risk” giving your best effort (even if there’s a good chance you might fail)?  How does failure make you feel?  Is your identity in Christ stronger than that feeling?

WEDNESDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

3) David asks for one thing after he claims confidence — What is that (v. 4)?  Is his confidence based on the destruction of his enemies?  No, but rather he knows that whatever happens on earth, he will dwell with the Lord and gaze on His beauty forever.  Is your own confidence based on earthly or eternal promises?  Do you need to be certain that you’ll be kept physically safe and that God will provide for your material needs, in order to obey what He calls you to do?  Are earthly     blessings (or a lack of them) a lasting indication of God’s love for you?  Why would you base your confidence (and your habits) on something temporary?

4) Does the promise of eternity with God give you confidence, as an athlete?  Even if you drop that winning pass in the end zone or miss the game-winning shot, what can you be confident that you will not lose?  If athletic failure does not cause you to lose what matters most, what are you free to do?

THURSDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

 5) What is the relationship between confidence and joy?  What does a confidence in God’s goodness (v. 13) lead a person to do (v. 14)?  When you confidently wait upon God, what are you doing?  Is your relationship with him strengthened or strained?  What does this right relationship with God (based on confidence in His goodness) produce?  Indeed, anything that draws you into closer relationship with God produces joy, because God is the source of real joy!

6) If your confidence is based on your own abilities, will this produce joy?  How does confidence in the promises of God allow joy to flourish, despite the difficulties and disappointments that you experience?  Does the knowledge of God’s goodness cause you to be less diligent in your own efforts, or does it motivate you to give an even better effort?  Why?

FRIDAY — Discuss sport applications of joy, and pray together.

· Ask your athletes to briefly reflect on what they’ve learned about joy this week, and to repeat some of those things.  (Remind them of some of the Biblical truths about joy you’ve discussed, if necessary.)

· Ask your team, “Based on what we learned about joy this week...What does a joyful athlete do?”  Do not settle for vague answers; challenge your athletes to go beyond general qualities of a joyful athlete, and to  determine what those qualities look like in action.

· Add the results to your team’s list of descriptions of the “joyful athlete”, and be sure the list is displayed somewhere that is constantly visible, as a reminder to the team.

· Pray together as a team.  Encourage your athletes to pray for your team’s growth in regard to the discipline of joy — especially in relation to some of the issues and challenges that you discussed together this week.  Challenge them to also ask for forgiveness, when applicable.  Give time for athletes to request prayer (regarding joy or anything else), and pray together.

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