The Christian Athlete
There are many athletes who are concerned with looking good, being popular, or winning the most prizes, but that should not be the focus of the Christian athlete. His focus should be eternal.
The main goal of the Christian athlete is not to win but to glorify God in all he does. No matter the outcome of a competition, he behaves in a way that points to God as more important than his pride. He does not praise himself because he knows that it is God who gives abilities, opportunities, and victories. Thanking the Lord for the wins and praying for strength in the losses, the Christian athlete finds his security in Christ.
Winning is not a guarantee nor is it a command, but influencing others is a guarantee and witnessing is a command. People are relational and relational people naturally pay special attention to the skills of others. The Christian athlete acknowledges this and acts in a way that honors God. He knows that his most important job is to display the joy of being saved by Christ and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In his wins and his losses, the Christian athlete does not lash out but remains steadfast in the Lord.
Denying the natural desire to sinfully react when things do not go as planned is not an easy task but it is a requirement of the Christian athlete. A difficult requirement, but a rewarding one. In all that he does, the Christian athlete works for the Lord. Spiritually, this means he keeps his hope in the Lord when he is tempted by despairing anger or prideful celebration. Practically, this means he strives to do what is honorable- to be humble, to be kind, and to have self-control.
When the Christian athlete loses, his objective is to honorably and humbly get up, congratulate the winner, and try again. He also recognizes that his loss means another’s victory, which is a thing to be celebrated rather than bitterly mourned. He recognizes that losing a game is inconsequential when compared to acting in a way that dishonors his Creator.
At the end of the Christian athlete’s life God will be there and He will not be concerned with how many trophies are on a shelf; He will be concerned with the athlete’s heart. Prayerfully it was a humble heart accompanied by a hand that worked to give God the glory in every aspect of sports.
Written by: Grace Gouletas