The Monday feature of the Worldly Saints blog focuses on a story from the sports world – current or historic. The goal is one of the following: (1) either to recognize athletes who are using or have used their sports and athletic abilities to further the kingdom of God or (2) to show how some athletes or teams are wasting or did waste their days by not giving God the glory or (3) to simply reflect on a story from the sports world from a Christian perspective.
This weekend, I have viewed a lot of losing among my favorite teams. My Niners got crushed by the Panthers on Sunday. My Giants didn’t win their series against the Cardinals. My Sooners got embarrassed at home in a game they needed to win against the Buckeyes.
No sports fan enjoys seeing their team lose, but every sports fan knows the experience of losing, because no one or no team is or ever can be perfect.
I have learned over the years the importance of redeeming sports losses. While I am not a professional or amateur athlete who has to deal very literally with my team losing, I do, as a fan, have an opportunity to view my team’s losses as a measuring rod for my heart before God.
There was a time in my life – about a decade ago – when my team’s loss would be too consuming for me. I would not respond well. My emotions would be unbalanced, my frustrations would be too external, and my disappointment would be too consuming.
During that season of my life, the Lord showed me the idolatry that watching sports had become. And through His grace (I Cor 10:13), I began working on breaking that idol in my heart.
And over the years, I have used my team’s loss as an opportunity to see where or if I am growing in that area.
Some questions I have learned to ask myself are these:
- How much does it really matter if _____________ loses?
- Why do I care so much if ________________ loses?
- What should I be rejoicing in at this time?
Now, I am nowhere close to where I need to be and I can relate to Paul’s pressing more and more towards his goal (Phil 3:14), but I am thankful I am not where I used to be. I am thankful that when the Sooners, Giants, Lakers or Niners lose, I can move on to something else a lot quicker than I used to be.
For that, God gets the glory.
Sports are great; they are fun to watch. There is great joy in jumping up off the couch to cheer on your team’s touchdown, but it doesn’t compare to the joy of spiritual growth and seeing God’s working around you.
Thank you God for helping me fight the idols in my life (I John 5:21).