Welcome to the first episode of Off the Field. The theme of this week’s video is adversity. According to Webster’s Dictionary, adversity is defined as “a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.” Now that we understand what adversity is, let’s dive in a little deeper to see how you can respond to adversity as a Christian athlete.
"I want to become an athlete of influence!"
If you get your advice from outside sources, you may be told to self-medicate using drugs, alcohol, or money, etc. Because you are an athlete, onlookers might tell you to focus more on your sport.
Neither of these solutions are going to fix much in the long run. They will only serve as distractions from the reality of your struggles. If both of these are dead ends, what are we supposed to do during times of adversity?
There are two ways of dealing with adversity that you can consider. The first way is to live in isolation and bitterness, which are both consequences of self-medication and avoidance. This way of dealing with trials can leave you empty. The second way, which is more productive long-term, is to embrace Christian community along with our hope in Christ.
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul speaks about how to build a strong Christian community within the church. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says, "And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” The Bible shows us that the church is prepared to help with those going through tough times.
This is just one example of how you can combat adversity in a positive way. Can you think of any other stories or lessons in the Bible that give helpful ways to deal with adversity?
Questions to consider
- What ways have you dealt with adversity in the past?
- Is there a person or group of people you know you can turn to when times get tough?
- Have you ever been tempted to turn to something other than Christian community?
- In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, Paul gives final instructions to the church of Thessalonica and includes how the church should support its members. Why do you think Paul thought it was important to add this to his final words?
- How can you be the church to those in your community?