Game Day for the Glory of God
- Thursday, October 16, 2008
Does God Really Care?
As a Christian who absolutely loves sports, I find myself asking several questions. Why did God create sports in the first place? What does God think about sports? Is he interested in our wins and losses and all the organized chaos that happens in between? What are God’s priorities in sports? Does the Maker of all things care whether I make my free throws? Does high-sticking bother the High and Exalted One? Is there any connection between Jesus and a jump shot? The answers to these questions are crucial for any Christian who enjoys watching or playing sports.
But before we can determine God’s priorities for us in sports we must determine his priorities for us in life. We must first answer the age-old question, why are we here? The answer to this question provides a foundation for answering all other questions. Those who know and embrace God’s purpose for their lives will also know and embrace God’s purpose for sports. Similarly, those who reject God’s purposes for life will also reject God’s purposes for sports. Therefore it is absolutely critical that we know why God made us! Those who miss the boat here will find themselves in the dark on every other question of eternal importance.
Our Purpose in Life
Fortunately, God has made things very clear. He hasn’t left us to wander hopelessly in the dark. In the Bible we find God’s purpose for all men and women clearly spelled out. Isaiah 43:6–7 says, “I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (emphasis added).
There it is, the answer to the most important question in all of life! God made you and me for his glory. Our existence isn’t the result of a cosmic accident. We are not the by-products of a massive explosion that occurred six billion years ago. No, we were created by God for his glory. To bring something glory means to make it look great. When an Olympic weight lifter wins a gold medal for his country, he brings it glory. He makes his country look really good. After eating a delicious meal we feel compelled to speak. We heap praises on the chef for the tenderness of the steak or the succulence of the apple pie. That brings glory to the chef. It shows just how good the chef really is. God is the most beautiful, amazing, wonderful, glorious being who ever existed, and he has made us to bring honor and worship to him. To do anything else is wicked. First Corinthians 10:31 puts it this way: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Pretty clear, isn’t it? We were created for one all-encompassing purpose: to bring glory to God in all that we do. In his book Don’t Waste Your Life John Piper puts it this way: “God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.” The goal of our lives is worship. Scripture calls us to live in such a way that everything we do and say is worship to God! Worship is not simply the songs we sing on Sunday morning. Worship extends to every facet of our lives. Eating a steak or slurping a milkshake or, as Scripture says, “whatever” we do can be a form of worship. That most certainly includes playing, watching, and talking about sports.
Consider this for a moment. Scripture tells us that everything we do is to be done to the glory of God. Every jump shot and every slap shot. Every single and every strikeout. Every victory and every defeat. Whether we ride the bench or start every game of the season, all of it is to be done to the glory of God.
There is a problem, however. A huge problem. That problem is called sin, and it affects every single one of us. Sin is any failure to conform to the moral standards of God. It’s breaking God’s perfect and holy commandments. It’s rebellion against God. Sin is cosmic treason against the King of the Universe. We were made to live for the glory of God and the honor of his name. We were made to bring him pleasure. Yet each one of us has rejected that purpose and has chosen to live our own way, according to our own desires. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All of us have failed to glorify God in the way that he deserves. He is an infinitely glorious God, worthy of our highest praise and passionate allegiance. We have given him neither. Instead we spat in God’s face and spent our passions on sinful, ungodly pleasures. Because God is holy and just, he can’t allow such heinous rebellion to go unpunished. He has decreed that the punishment for sin is eternal spiritual death. Those who reject God will spend a blistering eternity in hell, under the wrath of God, receiving the just punishment for their crimes.
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