I often love seeing how people react to sport...myself included, and some days I would love to be able to show the passion I have for my team, for my God. However, I know God works in many situations and I can see a lot of life lessons, godly lessons that sport can teach us.
If you think about certain performances in sport over the last couple of months, we can view the type of attitudes that God himself wants to install in us.
The Brisbane Roar (soccer), how did they come back to win the A-League grand final from a seemingly hopeless situation being down 0-2 with 10 minutes to play? Quite simply, they never gave up. They held on to the belief that if they kept trying, anything could happen, and it did.
The Queensland Reds (Rugby) scored there biggest win ever, beating the Melbourne Rebels 53-3. There was obviously times in that match when they could have sat back and let the game play out, but they kept on pushing, they did not get complacent.
The Queensland State of Origin Maroons (Rugby League) have won five straight origin series in a row. Many commentators say it is because of their passion and they believe in that passion when they run on to the field.
Finally, after playing four gruelling quarters of AFL grand final last year, the Saints and the Magpies were lost in disbelief after their drawn match, when they were told they would have to come back next week. They had to come back and try again, and in the end the Magpies prevailed and took home the trophy.
From these events I can see four distinct attributes God is looking for me to have in my daily life; Never give up, Don't get complacent, Believe in yourself, and Keep trying.
God never wants me to give up. Not on him, not on others, not on myself. God will never give up on me and that is so important. I need to strive, to push myself when times get hard and to trust in God that he will help me keep going. God is not a quitter, and he doesn't want me to be either.
God does not want me to get complacent. With any complacency comes spiritual attacks. I may not even be aware I'm getting attacked and then all of a sudden I'm in a sticky situation. God wants me to be alert, active and prepared. Just because I know God loves me and the battle is His does not mean I can simply lay downs my shield. I must always be prepared, always aware that Satan in trying to bring me down in any form possible.
God wants me to believe is myself. God believes in me, if he didn't, I wouldn't be alive. God has given me confidence and encouragement. While it is important to encourage others, I need to make sure that I encourage yourself in my walk with God. Believing in myself can sometimes be a very hard thing to do especially if I am surrounded by people who don't believe in me. An encouraging word can sometimes be hard for me to accept and I must never push them away. Words of encouragement come straight from God's mouth, sometimes they are just relayed through the mouths of humans (people we love and know).
Finally, God wants me to try, try and try. We I fail, I struggle, I sometime give into temptations and trials, but that is never a reason for me to give it all up. Sometimes I can be trying so hard to do the right thing, make the right choices and when it all comes crashing down, it can seem like a good reason for me not to get back up on the horse. God allows me to learn from these mistakes though, he wants me to try and figure out how I can do it better, how I can stay focused, how I can trust in Him.
So yes, I do enjoy sport, very much, and I enjoy being on the service of God (husband, father, provider, writing this article, playing the drums, whatever). I am always taken aback when God reveals things to me in ways I don't expect. Like being invited to write this monthly article.
At the end of the day Jesus is Lord of All. Although I may get caught up in the things of life, such as sport, which at times may pull my attention away from God, I need to remember that God is always wanting to show me something, to learn something, to get closer to Him.
Galatians 2 verse 20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live,; yet not I, but Christ liveth by me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and give himself for me."
So when I'm watching my team run around this weekend, I'll be keeping a special eye-out for the message that God might be trying to send me.