Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Sports and the Bible

It may come as a surprise to some of you to hear that in the Bible we find passages that compare our life to sports. My family enjoys sports. Right now the NHL hockey playoffs are going on, so my boys have their teams that they cheer for. The Vancouver Canucks are out so will we become Ottawa Senators fans? Maybe, or maybe not.  My husband and  my boys have played as a team curling for several winters at our local rink and quite enjoy it, and everyone here enjoys a round of golf now and then. In high school, the younger of my twin sons  played pretty much every sport he could - in track running the 3 kilometer race provincially, also playing varsity volleyball, basketball, etc  and now in college continues to play team sports there. He has also enjoyed reffing hockey for the kids playing hockey locally. Playing sports is not only fun but it builds  many good qualities in person such as to persevere in difficult situations and to look out for others on the team, to be fair, and honest, to do your part in life and to encourage other people in the game we call life.   In 1 Timothy 4:8 it says  8For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
We know that in order to keep our bodies healthy we need to eat healthy foods  and get some exercise but as the verse reminds us that our bodies are temporary - our bodies are for this life only here and now. Our soul is what will live on for eternity so that is why we are encouraged to focus on godliness.
We know that any person doing well in his chosen sport is a person of discipline, spending many hours practicing and working very hard to reach their goals. There is the need to eat right, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest and sleep.
 We see the influence that sports figures play in the minds of kids and people. An example of one who is using his influence to reach others in a positive way would be Tim Teebow.  He has been able to share the gospel very publically with the gift to play football  that God has given to him. Of coursewe can also  think of a few sports figures who have become a negative influence to others and become disgraced publically.
Let's consider what 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 says -
 24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
In the game of life, we seek to win. It says in verse 24  "so run that ye may obtain". So just as in sports, we also need to discipline ourselves in our daily lives in order to win in our Christian life.  The prize is to be in the presence of God with the Lord Jesus for all eternity. After we have made the choice to enter the race - that is we have chosen to become a Christian, we then seek to live to please Christ in all we do and say in our everyday life.  Just like an athelete  needs to stay well nourished with healthy food and water, we need to be in the Scriptures daily, reading the Bible and thereby  taking in Spiritual food and drink.  We need to be in communication with our Heavenly Father in prayer and filling our minds with wholesome God honoring stuff.  These disciplines help us to be strong and to win over sin in our daily life. We have no desire to live in the pleasures of the sinful nature because we seek to win the prize and it is our goal to  " break through the tape" at the finish line in Christ's strength and in victory.  Our crown as refered to in verse 25 is incorruptible which means it is a reward that will last forever throughout eternity. How long is eternity you ask - is it a million years? No a million years into eternity will be only the beginning of it. It will be forever and ever and ever. So it is definitely worth all our time and energy to run this race of life with eternity as the goal!

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