Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sports Just Might Be An Idol If ...

Recently I was convicted that sports had begun to take a bigger place in my heart and life than it should.  This became especially apparent when I noticed it affecting my emotions, not only too strongly, but also for too much of the day. 

The first commandment is to have no other gods before Him (Ex. 20:3).  If we allow anything to take the place that God deserves in our life, then that person or thing becomes a “god” … or an idol.  For many, sports is that idol.

You have probably heard some of the Jeff Foxworthy comments about, “you just might be a redneck if …. (you have more cars in the yard than in the driveway”, etc.).  Well, sports just might be an idol in your life if…..
1.     You exert more emotion for your favorite team than you do for God.  Jesus said the most important commandment of all is that we “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength” (Mk. 12:30).
2.     You spend more time reading articles and researching statistics than you spend in God’s Word or reading articles that help your relationship with God.  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
3.     You know more about your favorite team than you do about God. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
4.     You spend more money on a big screen television or monthly cable service than you give to missions.  “Go and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt. 28:19).
5.     You would never be late for a game, but you are frequently late for church.  “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Ps. 122:1).
6.    You say such things as, “I love the Georgia Bulldogs or …. (your favorite team),” but you can’t remember the last time you said to God, “I love You, Lord.”  “I love you, O Lord, my strength” (Ps. 18:1).
7.     You enjoy being with friends watching the game more than you enjoy being with other believers to grow in Christ.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebr. 10:24-25).
8.     You have no problem declaring to the world your allegiance to your team, but you are fearful to witness for Christ.  “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

If you recognize some (or many) of these qualities in your life, confess your idolatry to God and ask Him to change your heart.  Then begin to invest less in sports and more in God.  Allow your emotions and words to reveal your true heart (“from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” – Lu. 6:45), and when you see things in your heart that are not right, continually give them to the Lord and ask Him to change you from the inside out.  He can and will do that!  “Work our your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13).

As a final challenge, I encourage you watch this 6 minute video by David Platt from a sermon he gave on “The Cross and Sports.”