Raising The Standard

Chris Klein has been an All-Star in college and in Major League Soccer. But two career-threatening knee injuries, one to his right ACL in 2001 and one to his left ACL in 2004 turned out to be blessings in disguise. After both injuries, the surgeries and rehab to follow, and successful comebacks to the MLS earned him Comeback Player of the Year honors.

But the blessings that he found in the midst of difficulty were more than MLS awards.

Chris says, “Right after that first knee injury, I had a peace in knowing that God had a plan for me. That allowed me to put the work into my rehab and come back from the injury and be a better soccer player. With those two injuries, I´ve had more of an opportunity to speak about my faith than anything else I´ve done on the field my entire career. I look back on those injuries and wouldn´t trade them.”

  • Describe a time in your life when a difficult time was really a blessing in disguise
  • How have difficulties given you opportunities to talk about your faith in Christ with others, either groups of people or individuals?

Chris says his soccer career is about “competing as hard as he can for God´s glory.” One of the verses that is important to him is Romans 12:1.

Romans 12:1 — Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.

  • How does the philosophy of competing for God´s glory line up with athletes today?
  • What is most challenging about living out the principles found in Romans 12:1?

An Audience of One

Chris says, “I look at singers who praise Jesus when they sing, and that´s just the ultimate act of worship to me. I don´t sing very well, but I do play soccer. So I have that idea of offering this sacrifice to Him each game that I play. He gave me this talent, and for me to offer it back up to Him is my way of worshiping. I certainly love listening to music but being able to express myself and to glorify Him on the field can become my sacrifice.” One of the Scriptures that inspires Chris in this way is Colossians 3:23-24.

Colossians 3:23-24 — Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ.

  • How does this passage reinforce Chris´ idea of playing for an audience of One?
  • Is playing for God´s approval as opposed to man´s approval more or less stressful? Why do you say so?

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

Finally then, brothers, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you must walk and please God—as you are doing—do so even more. 2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

3 For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4 so that each of you knows how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God. 6 This means one must not transgress against and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. 7 For God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification. 8 Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who also gives you His Holy Spirit.

9 About brotherly love: you don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10 In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more, 11 to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.

  • What are some ways that the apostle Paul encourages us to raise the standard of excellence in these verses?
  • How can living by a high standard of morality and righteousness  bring glory to God through your life?

Prayer: “Dear Heavenly Father, help me to practice, compete and live every moment of my life in a way that glorifies you. AMEN.”

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Adapted from Excellence: True Champions Pursue Greatness In All Areas Of Life, Chapter 6, “Raising the Standard,” produced by Fellowship of Christian Athletes

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