Week 6- The Claim of Integrity

MONDAY — Read the passage with your team.

   1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble.  2 The Lord will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.  3 The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness.  4 I said, "O Lord, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you."

   5 My enemies say of me in malice, "When will he die and his name perish?"  6 Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad.  7 All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying,  8 "A vile disease has beset him; he will never get up from the place where he lies."  9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

   10 But you, O Lord, have mercy on me; raise me up, that I may repay them.  11 I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me.  12 In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.      13 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

Psalm 41   

What does this passage have to say about integrity?

Why is that important?

TUESDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

1) What does the psalmist cry out, in verse 4?  He then describes the troubles his enemies have brought to him, and then — in verse 10 — he cries for what?  What is similar in both of these requests?  Why is God’s mercy so important?

2) How often, as an athlete, do you cry out for God’s mercy?  Or are you more concerned with getting what you want (or deserve)?  (Many athletes talk about getting “what they deserve,” whether that be playing time, success, their coach’s respect, etc).  Do you really deserve those good things you want?  If God gave you what you deserve in life, what would you get?  Why is it silly to expect anything good out of sports (or anything in life) without first seeking God’s mercy?

WEDNESDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

3) In verse 4 the psalmist admits his own sin, yet — in verse 12 — he claims that the Lord will uphold him.  Why would God uphold this sinful man (v. 12)?  How can the psalmist claim integrity?  (Refer back to the cries of the psalmist in verses 4 and 8.)  On what does his integrity depend?

4) If someone recognizes your integrity in a situation, how do you respond?  How did the psalmist respond (v. 13) in the face of the reality of his own integrity?  To whom should your integrity bring honor?  When you are able to do the right thing in a situation, do you thank God?

THURSDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

5) If you claim integrity because of the Lord’s mercy, how should that affect your reaction to others who lack integrity?  Should you become proud, because you are not like those others?  Should you just ignore the wrongs of others, because you know that (without God’s mercy) you would do the same?  How do you confront a lack of integrity in love?

6) How should teammates hold one another accountable to the standard of  integrity?  Does this really matter for a team, or should everyone just worry about their own attitudes and behaviors?  When a coach or teammate confronts you about something you are doing, how do you typically respond?

FRIDAY — Discuss sport applications of integrity, and pray together.

· Ask your athletes to briefly reflect on what they’ve learned about integrity this week, and to repeat some of those things.  (Remind them of some of the Biblical truths about integrity you’ve discussed, if necessary.)

· Ask your team, “Based on what we learned about integrity this week...What does an athlete of integrity do?”  Do not settle for vague answers; challenge your athletes to go beyond general qualities of an athlete of integrity, and to determine what those qualities look like in action.

· Add the results to your team’s list of descriptions of the “athlete of integrity”, and be sure the list is displayed somewhere that is constantly visible, as a reminder to the team.

· Pray together as a team.  Encourage your athletes to pray for your team’s growth in regard to the discipline of integrity — especially in relation to some of the issues and challenges that you discussed together this week.  Challenge them to also ask for forgiveness, when applicable.  Give time for athletes to request prayer (regarding integrity or anything else), and pray together.

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