To watch a talk on this topic head to the bottom of this study.
We may believe in Jesus Christ and go to church, but often, when we enter our sports environment (whether training or competition) it can look and feel like we leave our faith behind in the changing room. What does it look like then fully to integrate our faith and sport as we seek to encourage sportspeople to believe in Jesus?
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
Colossians is a letter written by Paul to a small church. He encourages them that Jesus is all they need and helps them see how their faith in Jesus impacts their whole lives. Here, he is helping them understand how to live out their faith amongst those who aren’t Christians.
To PRAY is vital in reaching sportspeople. It is God who will open the eyes of sportspeople to see Jesus for who He really is, so let’s be committed to praying for them.
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
The only other time Paul uses this phrase is in Ephesians 5:15-16 which is again in the context of sharing life with those who aren’t Christians.
To PLAY wisely is essential in reaching sportspeople with the Good News of Jesus. How we act when we train or compete is noticed by those ‘in the stands’ and gives credibility or not to what we believe and say.
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
When food is seasoned with salt it brings out the flavourmaking it tasty. Here Paul uses this metaphor to describe our conversation with those who aren’t Christians.
To SAY something that is different/ ‘tasty’ that points people to Jesus is part of our role as a Christian in sport. How, this week, can you speak like this when training and competing?
7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains.Grace be with you.
Through the greetings in Paul’s letters, we get a peek into his life and who he worked with.
We, too, are better off TOGETHER! Who else at your university could you meet with for encouragement and prayer? What Christians could you introduce to your sportsfriends so they can know first-hand another follower of Jesus Christ?
What does it look like fully to integrate your faith and your sport? It is to PRAY, PLAY, SAY, TOGETHER? Think of ways you can remember these four words and together build a team to reach the sportspeople in your university.
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.
Get the perfect start every
A weekly devotional for sports people