‘Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship’ Romans 12vs1
As a keen sportswoman, I find myself constantly faced with a continual battle between my faith and my sport. Which should come first? Are both sport and God compatible? Can I miss Church this Sunday because I have a training session at the same time? Would drinking one too many at the social really be that sinful? Would we have lost that game if my teammate hadn’t messed up that one chance of scoring? If only I had trained harder...
In recent years, I've come to understand that playing my sport isn’t going to draw me further away from God, if anything it encourages me more and more in my faith. In 'view of God's mercy' (12 v1) I seek to live out the gospel in all areas of my life - that is, knowing that I have been saved by Jesus's death and resurrection filters down into all aspects of my life, particularly sport. I can use my body as a ‘living sacrifice’ in my sport, which will be ‘holy and pleasing to God’ it is my ‘true and proper worship’.
So what has it practically looked like to present the 'Life to the Full' (John 10:10) that Jesus offers, in the sporting world? It is to really understand that God has given me the abilities to play sport and to take it to as high a level as He plans, for His glory alone. He has enabled me to use my sport as a form of worship to Him, because I want to share the wonderful thing that has been done for me. Just because I go out to sports socials doesn’t mean I cant drink, but it means I must look to where my true fulfilment lies; this not being in one night of drunkenness, but one night of sharing Jesus' message of 'Life To The Full' with my teammates. Just because we lost a game or a race doesn’t mean I should blame it on someone else, but instead I should be the one to keep everyone encouraged and draw up on the positives of the game. My training may reflect how well I perform, but ultimately, it doesn’t become my idol, instead it stays as an act of worship.
Growing in the knowledge of the amazing grace shown to me when Christ took my sins on the cross has revolutionised the way I approach such an important part of my life. As I remain an active part of various sports teams both at university and outside of university, I find myself lifting up every game or race to Him, asking for His will to be done in my training as well as when competing. Although, my sport can not give me true and everlasting satisfaction, it can give me the opportunity to serve and depend on God, drawing on His strength alone. I am able to build a stronger relationship with Him, which has lead to me understanding that true satisfaction and Life to the Full are found through His Son Jesus Christ.
Although, the compatibility of sport and God was a foreign concept to me, I realised that by me looking for the opportunities God has placed in front of me and honouring Him through my sport, He will continue to grow me in knowledge of the 'Life to the Full' that Jesus so incredibly offers.