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Whenever Christians participate in any form of media, their participation is not neutral. Everything must be filtered through God’s Word. Hold onto what is good and hate what is evil (Phil. 4:8-9, 2 Cor. 10:5). So, how does a Christian take every thought captive to obey Christ as they watch College Football and the NFL (2 Cor. 10:5)?
Don’t sin by…
1. Enjoying the violence. The Lord is who you should love, not the sin of violence. Whenever a football player says he wants to kill or injure his opponent, we should not have the same desires. Hurting other human beings should not be the goal, but rather to play the game with excellence unto God’s glory alone.
2. Enjoying the physical pain of other human beings, for they are God’s image bearers. Certain players easily get under our skin; especially the arrogant show-boaters on rival teams. Sometimes even coaches are arrogant; but unfortunately, sometimes they’re just despised because they are good at beating our team(s)! Regardless how much we love our team(s), we must not rejoice whenever bad things happen to opposing players or coaches; whether injuries, car wrecks, illnesses, family problems, etc. All humans are equally valuable, regardless if they play for your favorite team(s) or not.
3. Imagining that your “enemies” or “boss” are the opposing quarterback, and you are the linebacker that just blindsided him. When you watch something that is violent, and you think “I want to do this to so and so…” you should repent and probably stop watching violent things! However, it must be noted that the problem is within you, not outside of you (Rom. 3:23). Run to the cross!
4. Thinking that seeing a good football game is better than being with Christ. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying sports; however, whenever we had rather enjoy sports than to go to heaven to be with Christ at this moment, we reveal that sports are an idol in our lives. We must believe with Paul that to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). Also, this is largely the reason why Christians had rather watch a football game than attend worship with their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Do enjoy the Lord through…
1. The physical giftedness of the athletes. All of these athletes were endowed by God with the gifts, abilities, etc. in order to participate in football with excellence. Their performances silently scream God’s existence and reveal His glory whether they verbally acknowledge Him or not.
2. The intellectual giftedness of the athletes. When Steve Spurrier coached Florida, they whipped Tennessee on numerous occasions. Most of my relatives could not stand Spurrier. Many of the games Spurrier won were a result of the God-given intellect he received in his mother’s womb. Apart from God’s intellectual gifting of Spurrier and his players, they never would have beaten UT as many times as they did.
3. The “heart” and grit of the athletes. A few years back whenever Terrell Owens played for the Philadelphia Eagles, he broke his ankle. He was told that he would miss the final two games of the season, the playoffs, and the super bowl (if Philadelphia made it). Owens ended up coming back early to play in the super bowl. Although Philadelphia lost to New England, Owens caught 9 passes for 122 yards. Whether you like Owens or not, God gave him heart and grit while he was still in his mother’s womb; for, heart and grit cannot be taught or coached (so, I hear).
4. Recognizing man’s constant need for the gospel; and God’s provision for that need. Each of these players plays so that they can make money. As you witness the training, the sweating, the pain, be reminded that Christ died to conquer the results of the Fall, including difficult labor. As you see football players toil, and hear their constant mentioning of providing for their families, remember to always run to the cross of Christ. The reason why players must play is because we are not in the Garden of Eden anymore. Christ however, the second Adam, came to restore all that Adam messed up (1 Cor. 15). Paradise (a Garden of infinite delight) is just around the corner for all those that repent and trust in Christ alone for their salvation. Enjoy the Lord through the gospel of Christ! Christians are bound for the Promised Land (a new heavens and a new earth)!
In conclusion, every time we watch a college or professional football game, or any other sporting event, the ultimate goal should be to enjoy the Lord. The only way to enjoy the Lord is to recognize His fingerprints while discarding the Fall’s fingerprints. Praise be to God that the Fall’s fingerprints have been conquered, are being conquered, and will be conquered through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
What do you think?