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.

God made you an Athlete…Own it!

Having the proper perspective amidst performance

Your participation in sports is not contrary to God’s will.

Think about it.  No one pressures artists to stop creating, vocalists to stop singing, or musicians to stop playing.  Why should athletes stop competing?  These activities are not the issue.  The perspective towards the activites is what truly matters.  The Bible says, And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)  Our efforts should unite with our love for Jesus in a way that points to the Father in heaven.  This includes your participation in athletics.

Remember, God created you.  The Bible says, For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)   God knit coordination within you and awarded you with speed.  It was the same God who poured out oceans and exhaled stars who intentionally fashioned you to be an athlete.

To suggest that followers of Christ must adhere to a fixed set of interests and activities is insulting to the creativity of the creator.  Your faith should be in harmony with other followers of Christ, but the manner by which you convey it to the world should look as unique as the priceless masterpiece you are.

If you are an athlete, own it.  You don’t have to apologize.  But do so with the proper perspective.  Either your passion is to bring glory to yourself, or to bring glory to the God who gave you the gifts to compete in the first place.