I play for HIM vs. I play for me

2014-08-14 10.42.20There is a battle going on for your heart right at this moment.  A competition between light and darkness for who will rule your heart.  The character of God pulls us toward love, while the character of our enemy tempts us with pride. Isaiah writes about this struggle with pride, “But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isa 14:12).

The “I play for ME” mindset of Satan strongly contradicts the “I play for HIM” heart of God.  Take a look.

I play for me indulges in sin.

I play for HIM repents of sin.

I play for me loves myself first, and then uses others for gain.

I play for HIM loves God first, then loves others as yourself.

I play for me is greedy for material possessions

I play for HIM hungers for spiritual righteousness.

I play for me multiplies my wealth.

I play for HIM multiplies Christ’s message.

I play for me is proud and self exalting.

I play for HIM is loving and humble.

Pride is where Satan tempts the athlete most.  He wants you to selfishly hunger to be the most elevated athlete in the sport you play. Why?  Because He knows this fundamental truth. Nothing makes you less like God then the pursuit to be His equal.

Is This About Us or Him?

Screen shot 2015-04-07 at 11.14.23 AMIt’s an incredible moment in the athletes’ life when they acquire the unquenchable thirst to take their faith life seriously, demonstrating before an often self-glorifying sports culture a willingness to take their passion for sports and apply it to their life with Christ.

Initially, this bold declaration and the actions that follow, are inspired by the eye-opening realization that without Christ, we are nothing. Only through His death on the cross can we find life. (Romans 5:10) If we’re not careful, however, our initial display of allegiance can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Our actions can so easily begin to point to our performance for him rather than His performance for us. And in no time, we flirt with promoting our surrender in life being greater than His surrender in death. The consequence? Our spirit-filled urgency to share Jesus with others is quenched as our focus is mis-directed toward our personal holiness.

The heart of the Gospel is not “do something for Jesus.” The driving force is the conviction that “Jesus has done everything for us.” (Titus 3:5)

As your platform in the sports culture is established and your gifts are on display to the world, allow your life as a follower of Christ to be so Spirit-filled, that your life as an athlete points to Jesus rather than yourself. Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Having this light shine into the lives of your teammates, coaches, and fans is not something you superficially force. It should be the organic overflow from your unwavering intimacy and submission to Christ.