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This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Video YouTube channel.

Have you ever heard someone say they saw “potential” in you? Potential is the seed for every athlete, a base block from which a sports career can grow. Just like Jesus’s parable of the mustard seed, every person has the capacity to grow. Every skinny little kid has within them a talented basketball player, a do or die long distance runner, or a swift and agile tennis star. The funny thing about potential is that it needs to be unlocked. Not every seed grows into a tree.

[Related: Fitting Jesus into an Athlete’s Life]

Latent Potential

While most young kids can name their favorite athlete or tell you in an instant who they want to be like, not all of them reach their goal. Surprisingly few athletes are able to unlock their true potential. The factors that play into unlocking potential vary with each individual, some athletes’ home lives limit their growth while others just can’t seem to push themselves hard enough. The key with unlocking potential lies outside of circumstances and moves beyond any limiting factors.

Accessing Your Potential

Ever feel like you could have been something great if this or that hadn’t happened? Often the best athletes didn’t win the genetic lottery and become awesome by mere chance. Accessing your potential goes beyond the hand you’re dealt and delves deep into your character. Men and women who overcome enormous adversity do so by strength of character and massive self-control. One sure fire way to be a person of great character is spending time with God.

Time with God

Why does God have anything to do with unlocking athletic potential? Who you are and how hard you work is everything in an athlete. Showing up and putting in the work is absolutely important but who you are as an individual can unlock an even deeper level of potential. Keeping God at the center of your life will greatly increase your chances at achieving what you are fully capable of. Staying in God’s word and praying and spending time in fellowship will direct a person’s life down a healthy road.

Living life for the Lord creates certain moral traits that enhance a person’s own character. A walk with Jesus can influence athletes in healthier, more productive directions and behavioral patterns. A Christian will often stay away from drugs and parties, eliminating some of the larger destructive habits that can limit athletic ability. If unlocking your true athletic potential is your goal, seek first to unlock your true spiritual potential. As you put in work on your character and spend time with God, you will gain closer access to your athletic potential.

[Related: Daily Journal – Athletes]

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Have you ever felt like you achieved your full potential? Why or why not?
  4. What does spending time with God do for athletes? How can it help them?
  5. How does a Christian lifestyle help athletes access their full potential? Give one example.
  6. How can athletics help people have greater character?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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