One of the great challenges for Christians today is how to integrate being a follower of Jesus into every aspect of life. We are called (Romans chapter 12) to be “living sacrifices” for God in everything we do.
Going to church on Sunday is an easy sacrifice to understand. However, what does sacrifice on Monday look like? What does being a disciple of Jesus look like for the rest of the week?
Jesus as everything
How does a Christian live out his or her faith in every area of life: the way they eat, spend their money, the Netflix shows they watch, the friends they hang out with, or even how they play their sport. If every part of our life is to be an act of worship then how do we make each of these a “living sacrifice” to bring glory to God?
Eating too fast!
A friend had a habit of eating meals very quickly. While he was at College the principal remarked on this and pointed out that he was eating so fast that he ignored any conversations with other students. The principal pointed to 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31, which explains,
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
This rebuke not only changed his mind set for meals but also his focus on friend. “Everything,” he said, “should be a sacrifice for the Lord.”
Lunch time meals may seem trivial but as Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper proclaimed,
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
So how does sport fit into this theology? If following Jesus is a 24/7 calling, and not just a Sunday exercise, then even our sport becomes part of our faith journey.
Sport as sacrifice
A conversation I had with a runner revealed an insight. Exhausted, she lay on the floor after a hard 10km run. As she reflected on her love for running she explained that one of “God’s gifts” to her was this joy of running.
She expressed Eric Liddell’s (Chariots of Fire) theology that “When I run I feel God’s pleasure.” For both these runners, to run was a way to worship God. A living sacrifice offered to the Creator. It was a way to thank God by using the gifts He has given.
Sport is a gift. It is a gift of re-creation of us, not just an idle recreation without purpose. Every aspect of our lives, including sport, is to be enjoyed to reflect back our love for Jesus.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html