The NFL returns tonight and I can’t wait for the new season to get underway. Throughout the off-season, we heard about the big contracts that players signed, the rookies expected to contribute, and the guys looking to take the next step into stardom. We debated who is the best at each position and decided which players we wanted on our fantasy team. 

With so much emphasis on individual players, athletes easily become me-focused and make it all about them. Of course, they want to make sure they get paid bonuses, avoid big hits, keep their roster spot or starting position, and get the accolades they feel they deserve. Many guys also want the attention and fanfare to land marketing or media deals to expand their earning potential.

Those things aren’t necessarily bad, but football is probably the most team-oriented sport since there are 53 guys contributing to its success. When players become selfish and driven by their own individual accomplishments, winning becomes very difficult. Issues often arrive when they are more focused on getting their touches and being the one to score, rather than being concerned with the team’s goals.

However, when you see a team filled with selfless players who desire to sacrifice for their teammates so they can accomplish something greater, they are the teams holding up the trophy at the end of the year.

When looking at our own lives, selfishness is all around us…starting with the person in the mirror. We often seem to be out for ourselves and extremely me-focused. We enjoy when people give us attention and accolades while pursuing more money, success, and status.

Having an ego or being self-centered doesn’t just affect guys on the football field. Our selfishness can very easily get in the way of accomplishing everything God wants to do in us and through us.

Jesus is the ultimate example of selflessness and sacrifice. As we follow Him, the apostle Paul challenges us in Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT), “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

Today as we watch the start of another NFL season, let’s take notice of the teams filled with players who aren’t selfish, but willing to put the team above themselves.

Let’s be encouraged to live humble lives, pursue others, care about their concerns, and recognize the need to get over ourselves. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive me for my selfishness and for always looking out for me instead of valuing others more than myself. Please help me to recognize the areas that I need to surrender and become less focused on my own desires. In Jesus’ name I pray,  Amen.