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Home : Feed Your Spirit : Your Life, Better
5 faith-filled lessons that sports can teach you

Compiled by Tiffany French

Whether it’s your exclamation of “Thank You, Jesus!” after winning the championship or witnessing an entire team take a knee in support of an injured player, God’s presence is experienced in sports.  From little league diamonds and Friday Night Lights, to marathons and floor routines, here are 5 faith-filled lessons that sports can teach you.

Inspired by Kneeling in the End Zone by Josh Tinley, available from The Pilgrim Press.

There’s always hope. Just ask the Cubs.

...suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts… (Romans 5: 3-5) 

No other team in professional sports has suffered a championship drought like the Chicago Cubs. Though they have had some impressive seasons, the last time they won a World Series was 102 years ago. Despite their lack of a championship, Cubs fans remain ever vigilant, and always possess hope in the next play, the next game or the next season. You can too.

Faith is perseverance. Everyone loves an underdog.

Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. (Romans 4:13-25)

There is no narrative more fitting than that of a boy-king who uses his wits and a slingshot to claim victory over a muscled giant. The David vs. Goliath story lives on in the stories of Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger, battle-of-the-sexes victor Billie Jean King and the famed 1955 Milan High School Basketball Team that inspired “Hoosiers.” Like these great underdogs, you too can overcome the impossible. 

Faith honors rituals and traditions. Don’t wash those socks!

…do this in remembrance of me. (I Corinthians 11:25)

Traditions are preserved throughout sports and practiced by teams and individuals alike. Even though ritual won’t ensure a victory, it’s a good reminder that something important is happening.  Touching a rock, doing a dance, reciting a prayer, or wearing the same unwashed socks may seem silly to an outsider, but it’s downright sacramental.  Honor the rituals that give your life meaning.  

Practice matters. Excellence is worth pursuing.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you… (I Thessalonians 5:17-22)

Coaching great Vince Lombardi said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”  The quality of one’s rehearsal impacts the quality of one’s performance.  Though it can be tedious and painful, practice conditions us and prepares us; it enables us to make the most of our gifts and abilities. Just as athletes train, Christians grow in relationship to God and others through practicing their faith. What daily or weekly exercises are strengthening your spiritual life?

Miracles happen. Your hole in one is coming!

Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

In the final seconds of the 1980 men’s Olympic semi-final game when U.S. beat the powerhouse Soviet Union by one goal, sportscaster Al Michaels declared, “Do you believe in miracles?” While perhaps overused in the world of sports, miracles are clear signs of hope — for both athletes and people of faith. So the next time you witness a three-pointer by a kid fresh off the bench, tell yourself: All things are possible!



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