“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” - Mia Hamm, National Soccer Hall of Fame Forward
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT - Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Often in the fury of sports competition, a player will get injured or miss an assignment or make an error that can cost a team dearly. However, in team sports like baseball, only those who stay on the bench never make an error. Mistakes and failures are usually made by doers, not by observers and critics in the cheap seats. An error made trying to help the team win is less of a problem than never trying to make the team in the first place. Yet, in sports - and in God’s Church - we are called on to “pick up” a teammate who is struggling, who is injured, or who has made a very costly error. In Ecclesiastes 4, we see four winning principles for picking up your teammates in Christ. In order to execute these winning concepts, you actually have to be in real relationship with them in some kind of group setting because Biblical Christianity is a team “sport” not an individual one. We grow healthier and stronger in relationships.
- Help teammates succeed spiritually (the mark of true Christian friendships and life groups)
- Reach out to help pick up a teammate who’s struggling or down (cannot let them stay down)
- Demonstrate genuine, personal warmth to your teammates (which all people crave)
- Defend teammates in times of spiritual attack (the shield of faith is designed for teamwork)
God heals and establishes our freedom from sin habits, past hurts, and other hangups most often in the context of life-giving relationships where honesty, vulnerability, accountability, and “coachability" are a reality. Though confession and prayer to God brings forgiveness, often healing comes through confession to a Christian teammate who can pick you up in prayer and encouragement. To whom on God’s team (including, and outside of, your immediate family) would you trust enough to confess your “errors” and submit to their prayers for your healing? Do you have the trustworthy character to receive someone else’s honest confession of failure without breaking their confidence or gossiping about it?
James 5:16 ESV - Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.