At almost any level, playing games can be easy. If you have the right opportunity and the right set of skills and talents, you can perform and play and even succeed. What is infinitely more difficult, however, is winning the battle for character. If, in training our youngsters to play the games without leading them into the lessons of character that those games can teach, we do our kids a great disservice. The greatest athletes are not the ones with the flashiest wardrobes, largest entourages, or biggest cars, because regardless of the game they played to gain those things, there is a far greater and far more important game—life. In life, greatness is not seen in medals or records, it is seen in our character. The very essence of spiritual growth is not about achievements or acclaim, it is about one thing—the quality of the person we are becoming. In fact, this is such a high priority for our Lord that a major part of His purpose for our redemption is rooted in that very thing. In Romans 8:29, Paul wrote:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

That is huge! Who we are becoming in Christ is absolutely the most important thing about us. True character is found in this: We are being conformed to the likeness of the Son of God, so that His character should be made visible in our character. Paul saw that growth in his spiritual son, Timothy, and said to the church at Philippi: "But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel" (Phil. 2:22). “Proven character.” That is the goal of our spiritual growth and that is the end of God’s redemptive work in our lives. And it is much more important than talent or ability. Christlike character may be the most important thing about us. Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain