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Adapted from The Search for Significance by Robert McGee All Scripture references are from the New

Living Translation unless otherwise noted.

4 Truths That Will Change Your Life
“Saturday Night Live” used to have a sketch called, “Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley.” In this sketch, Stuart Smalley wanted to have a person look in the mirror and say, “I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.” His goal was to make that person feel good about himself or herself. What would happen if that wasn't true? What if that person was not good enough or smart enough. What if people really did not like that person? We have a tendency to determine our self worth by this equation: My performance + Other peoples' opinions about me = My self worth The problem with this equation is that it is a never ending battle to feel significant. You will not always perform at a high level and people are fickle and their opinions constantly change. God has a different equation for self worth: God's truth about me = My self worth Unlike the first equation, this equation does not change. When you make Jesus the boss of your life and you surrender your life to Him, you can trade the first equation of self worth for the second one. You can only base your worth on God's truth if you have given your life to Christ. Otherwise, these truths don't apply. Jesus said, “ And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Here are four truths that will change your life. The more deeply you get ahold of them, the more radically your life will be changed. Truth #1 It's 4th and 9 with 3:26 left in the game. Ben is the quarterback for the Dragons, who are down 17-13. Ben's coaches know him to be an extremely hard worker. He's always staying after practice to get in extra throws and runs all his sprints hard. As the play comes in , “Right 895” , his stomach tightens up. Ben always plays hard, but he's always uptight. He is afraid of messing up. As he gets under center and scans the defense, he desperately hopes that he can complete this pass. The ball is snapped and he rolls out to the right. His receiver runs a beautiful ten yard square out pattern and Ben lets the ball fly. The pass sails high and the receiver can't get up high enough to haul it in. The pass is incomplete and the other team takes over on downs. They run out the clock and win the game. Ben is devastated. For the next two days, he sits in his room and doesn't talk to anybody.

Clint plays outside linebacker for the Dragons. He's only a freshman. At practice, he gets run over or burnt a lot. Clint doesn' t get to play in games because he rarely ever puts forth any effort. He's not very good, and he doesn't want to fail, so he does not try because then he has an excuse. Halfway through the season he quits the team because he's tired of failing. Both Clint and Ben are operating with the same thought process. Deep down, they both believe, “I must meet certain standards to be worthwhile.” If they fail, they feel worthless. It is interesting that this belief causes different reactions. Ben fears failure so much, that he will do anything he can to prevent it. Clint, on the other hand, avoids any possibility where he could fail. He doesn't give effort because he tells himself that it doesn't matter. The first truth that will change your life is: You are fully acceptable and totally pleasing to God How does this work? These passages shed some light on why this is true. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now, he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. Colossians 1:19-22 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) When Christ died on the cross, he took on himself all of the bad things we've done. When he died, all of those bad things we've done (or will do) were destroyed. He took our sin, and gave us his perfection. The end of the first passage says that we stand before God as “holy and blameless...without a single fault.” You don't have to meet certain standards. Christ has already done that. Even if you fail, you are still without fault. If anyone disagrees with that, who's right...that person or God? When we understand this truth, we can be freed from the fear of failure and can walk in confidence. It allows us to take risks and in athletics, it can help us play to win rather than playing not to lose. Any sports psychologist will tell you that playing with confidence is the key to playing well. It is a freeing feeling to be confident about who

you are. Truth #2 Blaine always needs an audience. Every time he makes an outstanding catch for the Dragons, he has to point it out to everyone. In fact, many of his teammates label him as arrogant because he is always talking about how great he is. He's always showing off and trying to be the center of attention. What they don't realize is that Blaine doesn't brag and show off because he thinks he's great. He wants everyone else to think he's great. Whenever anyone says anything negative about him, it really bothers him and he sulks about it for hours when he gets home. It is disastrous when the coaches get upset with him. He hangs his head and his performance takes a tailspin. Caleb is a linebacker for the Dragons and he's a complete loner. He rarely talks to anyone and doesn't engage at all in the usual locker room horseplay. Some of his teammates perceive him as stand-offish and he does things his own way. If you look closely at these two players, they are both operating out of the same assumption: “I must be accepted by others to be worthwhile.” Blaine tries to show off in order to get people to like him. His mood is dependent on their perception of him. Caleb doesn't like to be around people much because if they can't reject him, he'll still be worthwhile. He doesn't think they'll like him anyway, so why try? The problem with this mindset is that people are very fickle. One minute they love you and the next minute they don't. The problem with trying to please everyone is that you can't do it. When you do, it doesn't last very long. The second truth that will change your live is : You are deeply loved and accepted by God See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don't recognize that we are God's children because they don't know him. 1 John 3:1 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Romans 15:7 As these verses point out, God not only makes us righteous, he calls us his children! We belong to him! We are accepted by Him! This is especially freeing on the athletic field as we no longer have to be a slave to the cheer of the crowd or the approval of our coaches and teammates. Even though we may fail or do something totally boneheaded, we can rest in the fact that we are accepted and loved by God. Nothing is ever going to change that.

Truth #3 Dave Richard is the defensive line coach for the Dragons who is known for his explosive temper. When his linemen mess up, they know it. One time, in a scrimmage, a defensive end sacked the quarterback, but Dave came in after the play thundering at the weak side defensive tackle. “What are you doing? You call that a pass rush? That was absolutely terrible!! You made no move whatsoever! You lazy piece of crap! You're out her to rush the passer, not look pretty! Now give me 10 pushups NOW!!” In his mind, mistakes are not to be tolerated and it's bad news for anyone who makes a mistake. Kyle plays defensive tackle for the Dragons and he is well aware of Coach Richard's temper. He knows that he does not want to be on the receiving end of Coach Richard's wrath. His play is very hesitant because he is hoping to avoid mistakes. Both Coach Richard and Kyle are operating out of the false belief, “Those who fail deserve to be punished.” In Coach Richard's case, he rails on anyone who makes a mistake. There is a difference between punishment and discipline. Discipline is done in a spirit of love and its purpose is to build up or correct. Punishment is done out of a sense of anger with the purpose of tearing down or getting even. Deep down, Coach Richard believes that those who make mistakes need to be punished or torn down. On the other hand, Kyle is afraid to make mistakes because he doesn't want punished. Both of these approaches have debilitating effects on both athletic performance and in life. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins. He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all...When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to become righteous, for he will bear all their sins. Isaiah 53:4-6, 11 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 2 Peter 3:18 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

If we look at the passage in Isaiah, we see that Jesus took our punishment for our sins when he died on the cross. It also says that God was satisfied with that, meaning there is no more punishment necessary. In 1 Peter, we see that Christ took our punishment once for all time. We learn from the passage in Romans that there is no condemnation for anyone who follows Jesus. When you put these passages together, you can conclude the fourth truth: Jesus has already been punished for your failures Those who fail do not deserve to be punished because no further punishment is necessary. Christ has already taken it all. This allows us to be patient with others' failures and it allows us to come to grips with our failures and receive forgiveness. We no longer have to be paralyzed by the fear of making mistakes. Truth #4 Hunter sat in the locker room after the game with his head in his hands. His personal foul late in the game allowed the other team to keep their drive alive and eventually the other team kicked a field goal to win the game. Hunter was really broken. This is the third week in a row that he got a personal foul. He's always had problems controlling his anger on the field and now it cost the team a game. He doesn't think he'll ever be able to change. Deep down, hunter believes, “I am what I am. I cannot change.” Many of us know how difficult and uncomfortable change can be. When we don't see any progress we become hopeless and filled with shame. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. 2 Corinthians 5:17 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:2 The fourth truth is this: You are a new person in Christ That truth is good news! Not only are we made acceptable to God, we are made new! The verse in Romans elaborates on how that is accomplished. God's Spirit in us gives us the power to do what pleases Him. When we give our lives to Jesus and allow him to be the boss, God puts His Spirit in us. His Spirit gives us the desire and the power to live a new life. You don't have to do it on your own. Before God put His Spirit in us, we naturally did things that were destructive. It's much easier to be selfish or to fly off

the handle (both of which are not conducive to team play). God's Spirit allows us to behave in a productive way. Don't worry, you can change. You are a new person. Conclusion You are fully acceptable and totally pleasing to God You are deeply loved and accepted by God Jesus has already been punished for your failures You are a new person in Christ

As you work these four truths into your life, you will experience more joy, peace, and freedom than ever before. This will enhance your life both on and off the field. On the last page of this document, you will find a template for a card with the four truths and corresponding scripture references on it. You can print this out and carry it with you. When you feel worthless, hopeless, or fearful, you can pull this card out and remind yourself once again of the truth. If you like what you have read but have not committed your life to Jesus, you can do that right now and take advantage of these wonderful truths. You can pray right where you are and tell him you want him to be the boss of your life. You can pray like this. Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I now invite you to take control of my life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. If you have prayed this prayer, I encourage you to get involved in a local church that will help you grow in your new commitment to Jesus.

4 Truths That Will Change Your Life 1. You are fully acceptable and totally pleasing to God Colossians 1:19-22 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21 2. You are deeply loved and accepted by God 1 John 3:1, Romans 15:7 3. Jesus has already been punished for your failures Isaiah 53:4-6, 11; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:1 4. You are a new person in Christ 2 Corinthians 5:17. Romans 8:2