In a 2019 women’s international volleyball competition, teams from many countries were vying for the opportunity to compete in the 2020 Olympics. The team from Bulgaria (who hadn’t been to the Olympics since 1980) was not considered a strong contender, so it was a big surprise when they beat the highly-seeded U.S. team in the first set (best out of five). The US team won the second, but Bulgaria managed to eke out the win in set 3. Set 4 was a real nail-biter until the U.S. team surged at the end for a big win. The teams continually traded the lead during the last se.
The commentators pointed out the advantage the U.S. team had because they had played extremely tough competition for years and had experienced wins after near-defeats against great odds. The sportscasters speculated that the U.S. players’ belief that they could win, gained through experience, was a deciding factor that helped them to overcome the Bulgarian team.
Could this be true for Christians also as they fight through life’s tough battles?
- How could what you believe affect the outcome of an athletic competition? Would this also be true of our battle against evil?
- What chance do new believers, without experience, have to defeat evil? What is the role of a more experienced athlete—or Christian—in a team effort? How can we apply this to our church?
- What does it take for an athlete or athletic team to qualify for the Olympics? Compare this kind of effort to a Christian soldier “marching as to war.”
Excerpt from the upcoming book "The Chain Reaction of Praise" by Keith Korver and Kathie Evenhouse