To watch a talk on this topic head to the bottom of this study.
Covid-19 stopping all sport across the world was disappointing and frustrating. There will always be disappointment in sport. Someone always loses - and that is not taking into account injury, being dropped, not improving, etc. But how we navigate these as Christians in competitive sport is important to think about because it affects how we worship God and witness to our faith in Christ.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
Paul is imprisoned and suffering for it. This could create a real temptation for him to abandon the gospel and his service of Christ. But his clear understanding of the grace and future he has in Christ are sufficient in encouraging him to continue.
In Philippians 1, Paul shows us that no matter what happens God has ultimate control of the situation and He can use it for good. Throughout, we are to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:13 is often misunderstood to mean that ‘I can do anything I want because Jesus will help me’. However, if read in context, we understand that Paul is saying that he can persevere through suffering, hardship and pain because Christ gives him strength. The ‘everything’ refers to being content in Christ even when it is tough. We can do this by reminding each other of what we have in Christ and by asking the Holy Spirit to give us the strength we need.
When we are reminded of our identity as sons and daughters of God, sport no longer defines us. We achieve a different perspective on our disappointment which can help us to contain it and persevere through it and look towards contentedness.
When we are in the midst of sporting disappointment, we need each other: to remind us of who we are in Christ; to lift our eyes to contentment in Christ rather than letting our disappointment shape how we view ourselves. Pray that you would rely on the Holy Spirit when you are facing sporting disappointment, that you would trust in God’s plan and that you would be able to use each situation to point your sports friends to Christ by reacting in the right way.
All Bible quotations are taken with permission from the NIV:
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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