Grow outward. Use what you've learned about God and yourself to join God in His work in the world, helping to make it a better place. Recognize that your life's story is an important part of the greater story of God's work in the world. Read the Bible often and live by its principles to play your part in the greatest story of all. 

Worship God, connect to others, and serve your community through your local church. Pray for the strength you need to be the best husband, father, or single person you can be, making the most of the time God gives you during your current season of life. Break free of the clutches of commercialism and materialism by pursuing the true treasure - Jesus - over everything else. View your money and possessions as simply tools you can use to advance God's kingdom work. Stick to a budget, get out of debt, and give generously to your local church and those in need. Thank God for the job He has given you, and consistently give your best effort to it, remembering that you're ultimately serving God through your work. 

When you suffer, understand that you're suffering isn't in vain; God will use your experiences to make you more like Jesus. When other people suffer, listen to their stories and pray for them. Resist the temptation to view pornography. If you're already addicted to it, get counseling and pray for the strength to break free. Regularly share the Gospel message with people you know who aren't yet Christians. Fight evil every day by praying for the spiritual strength to overcome it. 

Don't give up the faith, no matter what challenges you may encounter. Keep running the race of faith your whole life long, knowing that Jesus will be there at the finish line to celebrate with you!

Adapted from Hero: Unleashing God's Power in a Man's Heart, copyright 2009 by Derwin L. Gray. Published by Summerside Press, Bloomington, Mn.,
Former NFL player Derwin L. Gray, also known as The Evangelism Linebacker, is the pastor of preaching and spiritual formation at theGathering, a multi-ethnic, intergenerational church in Charlotte, North Carolina. he also serves as the president of One Heart at a Time Ministries. Along with his wife, Vicki, and their two children, Presley and Jeremiah, Gray makes his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visit  for more information.

Original publication date: November 10, 2009