To watch a talk on this topic head to the bottom of this study.
Competitive sport might look very different for you at the moment because of Covid-19. However, a pause from sport is often a great opportunity to think about how you behave when you do compete. This session will challenge you and help you think what it looks like to glorify God in your attitude and actions, so that when you return to competitive sport you can seek to worship God in your sport!
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4 gives us an insight into how Christians should compete but rather than this being a practical application, it is a heart change. The Christian has been given a new life in Christ and is, therefore, to focus on heavenly things, not get caught up in earthly things
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We are not competing for ourselves or others, but for God using the gifts He has given us. Therefore, all glory goes back to Him when we make the most of the gifts and new life we have been given. We have ‘an audience of one’. Everything we do, including in competing, we are called to do in God’s name only.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.
These imperative (command) statements indicate what believers are to do as a result of setting their hearts and minds on God: put to death practices that belong to the old unbelieving self.
For some of us, competition makes sinful reactions come out: cheating, anger, physical aggression. Competition manifests itself in different ways: nervousness, anger, pride, aggression. We forget so quickly that the gospel matters more than the game!
10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
It’s because we are now part of God’s ’chosen’ people and have eternal salvation that we put every effort into living a godly life.
Re-clothing ourselves like this changes our behaviour. It enables us to compete all in, working hard for God with the gifts He has given. It helps us to begin to stop sinful reactions because our new identity puts the focus on God and not on us.
Christians can give their full effort to sporting competition because we value the gift of sport and the gifts God has given us to play them. What will this look like for you this week as you train and compete? Pray for each other – pray that you would display your Christian identity as you compete this week.
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A weekly devotional for sports people