Competition/Sports, Evangelism/Discipleship, Gospel Centricity

Faith and Competing Well

Several years ago Christianity Today wrote an article calledcompetitors “Sports Fanatics: How Christians have succumbed to the sports culture–and what might be done about it.” It certainly created a little buzz for us at CSO because it had points like the following: “That some deep theological insights might be gleaned from such goings-on, or that God might choose to reveal himself in sports—even in those that bring out the crudest of instincts—is, of course, possible. But I believe it is unlikely. Yet even if I am wrong, this by itself doesn’t relieve Christians of the duty to seek the redemption of sports, and to point society toward a better way of playing.” Thank God that Christians have that duty. Indeed, there is a mission we are working towards with Him leading. However, it does not look like the author is going to help. This can’t be the only answer and the end of the story. We are thankful that it’s not. Sports cannot and should not be summed up in this way. The Bible is clear, everything will be made new (Rev. 21:5). Nothing will be exempt from God’s redemptive power. The problem of course is that we (broken sinners), can’t comprehend this. We can’t even understand how the Lord is going to redeem work. Mainly because our eyes (here in this temporary home) have a permanent filter: sin. So we pray for Him to open our eyes and to see through His. The sports world is so broken because a lot of it is bent on “worldly or wrong competition” discussed in more detail on this post. It is clear on the distinction that bad competition is what the problem is. Our world is stuck, and I am too. In my experience, I have so rarely seen “good competition” that for most of my life I wanted to throw it all out. I couldn’t see how any of it could be considered good. What did it look like? What did it feel like? Enjoying the game despite my own team’s loss? Celebrating the team that won? Genuinely boosting the other team’s morale who lost? I don’t know. What I do know is that God is at work. He is so at work that stories like Monty Williams’ funeral speech come up and blow us all away. Living a life of Faith is not normal, as Paul Tripp says, living one of worry and doubt is. But “You don’t have to hide in guilt when weak faith gets you off the path, because your hope in life isn’t your faithfulness, but His.”