To watch a talk on this topic head to the bottom of this study.
In sport, coaches, parents and other teammates can encourage us to be proud. Sometimes this is for self-esteem and encouragement but other times it is done deliberately to inflate our ego, assert domination over another team/person due to our superior skill or to drive our ambition. But how should I view my sporting talents and achievements as a Christian?
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
We know from Acts 16 that the church in Philippi was made up of a group of very different people. In this chapter Paul urges them to be united and he does this by helping them see themselves in a new way.
As Christians we are to view our sporting success and ambition differently. To do this, we start by viewing others differently. Pride is not necessarily thinking too much of yourself, but thinking of yourself too much.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
In spite of all that is unique and radically different about the person and work of Jesus Christ, we are to have His attitude of self-sacrificing humility and love for others.
Jesus being ‘very nature God’ humbled himself to become a human and even to die in our place. His love for us took Him there obediently and willingly; in response, we, too, should humble ourselves to be a living sacrifice.
Being a Christian sportsperson should not mean that we are falsely humble or proud; rather that we train and play with a God-confidence that comes from recognising that our gifts come from Him; we are created beings, and we are to use the talents He has given for His glory.
Pray: thank God for Jesus Christ and His humility; pray that God would continue to make you humble in the true sense of the word.
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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