Sport is full of exciting and thrilling moments that we love to share with other people. How often have you come home from a game, competition or even the gym and delightedly told your family or friends about a goal you scored, a nail-biting victory, or a new PB?
When we have seen or experienced something exciting it’s natural to want to share it with others. Why, then, are we sometimes so hesitant to tell others the story of the greatest thing that has ever happened to us?
In Acts 4, we see the religious authorities becoming increasingly frustrated with the apostles for continually preaching about Jesus’s death and resurrection which had resulted in many people coming to faith. They instructed the apostles not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Yet Peter and John replied:
“What is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20).
This bold response reveals their motivation to submit to God above any earthly authorities, and explains their action that they simply cannot help speaking about Jesus!
Let our prayer be that we have the same motivation which causes us to speak about what we have seen and heard of Jesus in our own lives.
Sometimes we are held back from sharing our personal story because we do not know how to structure it. As we think that through, it can be helpful to recognise that while we are all unique, our experience of faith broadly fits into two categories:
A. Those who have been brought up in a Christian home.
B. Those who haven't and have had a conversion experience at some point.
A Biblical example of category A is the story of Samuel, found in 1 Samuel 1, who had believing parents who dedicated him to the Lord. An example of category B would be Paul’s story found in Acts 26:1-23. Which of these best fits your experience?
From these Biblical examples we can put together a helpful framework which can shape how we would share our stories. For both categories, they can be broken down into three sections.
Have a go at writing out your personal story according to this framework.
In sport we know the value of training to get ourselves ready for competition. So that you are ready for the when the opportunity comes to share your personal story, get practicing!
As you write and practice and share your story, here are three dangers to be aware of:
When sharing our personal story, we need to be conscious of the person we are talking to. It is important to avoid Christian jargon - words and concepts which may not make sense to someone who is not a Christian.
If you were to record yourself sharing your story and watch it back, how many times do you say ‘I’ or ‘me’ compared with ‘Jesus’ and ‘God’? We naturally want to talk about ourselves, but ultimately this is a story about what God has done in your life, and Jesus is the one we want our friends to hear about. Give Him the glory!
Often we can be so intent on getting the words out that we miss opportunities to ask a question to the person and draw them back into the conversation.
In sport very few of us would enjoy always training and never playing - what would be the point? In the same way, let’s not get so caught up with practicing our personal story that we don’t go out and share it with someone!
Who will you share this story with in the next week? Who can you tell about your plan so they can keep you accountable
God has not finished the work He is doing in your life! Therefore, your personal story will be always evolving, so rather than seeing this as a skill learnt, see it as a skill to be refined.
Finally, let’s get excited about this! This is the story of how the Almighty Creator of the universe won your heart and brought you from darkness to light, from death to life. What story could compete with that?
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A weekly devotional for sports people