Play Like A Champion Today

19, March, 2020Posted by :Zach Ellsworth

At the bottom of a narrow, cream-colored, brick stairwell hangs an otherwise plain wooden sign, save for some gold and navy blue paint. Yet, it’s a sign that’s been replicated thousands and thousands of times.


Dec. 11, 2012; Stairs from the locker room to the tunnel in Notre Dame Stadium…Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Dating back to the 80s, this icon immediately calls to mind the Notre Dame football team. Whenever the Fighting Irish play, every individual hits the sign as they make their way from the locker room to the field.

The sign reminds the players of the tradition that they have stepped into—the great players who have gone before them and the great games that have been played. It reminds them of the expectations that have been set upon them to be the very best. And it encourages them to rise to those expectations. Far from being an empty ritual, hitting the sign is a pledge; a pledge that when you take the field, you will give your very best.

The reason this one simple habit has had such a profound impact is because it is loaded with meaning. There’s more meaning in this one statement than can ever be considered at once. Each time you hit the sign, something different and new—and still related!—can come to mind. And each new thought shapes the player that emerges from the tunnel on game-day.

With all of life currently turned upside down, there’s no better time to build new, simple habits, loaded with meaning, that can deeply shape your life.

Perhaps the best simple habit is scripture memorization. 

Deuteronomy 6 speaks to the issue of memorization. Scripture here contains a command to the Israelites—and serves as an exhortation for Christians today. We are commanded to fill our lives with the word of God in order to remember the tradition we’ve stepped into—the great people who came before us and the mighty works that have been done. We are called to remember the expectations set on us, while being encouraged to meet those very expectations.

This practice can be as simple as telling yourself a verse when you turn on the lights or when you’re washing your hands.

In fact, over the next couple of weeks, I’m planning on posting short videos that encourage just that. These will be aimed at our children, but there’s no reason that you can’t take up some of the simple habits I’ll be prescribing in order to hide God’s Word in your heart (Dt. 6:6, Ps. 119:11).

And all of this is so that we may, in the words of Deuteronomy 6:12, take care lest [we] forget the LORD. The Israelites were promised abundance and blessings as they entered the promised land. But they were also warned against forgetting God when they received this prosperity. And so they were encouraged to build habits to guard against their forgetfulness.

Have prosperity and the day-to-day grind it demands made you forgetful? Could you use this strange time to build new habits that continually point you back to God?

Whatever the case may be, we are all commanded to love the LORD our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our might (Dt. 6:5).

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