Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional – Thursday, September 7, 2017

Buffalo Bills fans cheering in a game against the Washington Redskins in 2015. (Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:3-5a, ESV

Confessions of a Sportsaholic

I don’t throw things . . . often.

My days of throwing a baseball or football are long behind me. If you do catch me throwing something, it will probably be a pillow.

When it comes to watching sports, I’m what you might call a fanatic. I wear the jerseys of my favorite teams, I read about them online, and I never miss a game. When my teams are winning, life is good. However, when my teams are losing, pillows start to fly. At least, that’s how I was just a few years ago.

Until recently, I had a bad habit of letting sports dictate my mood. When my teams won, I was excited! When my teams lost (and they lost a lot), I was grumpy, angry, and miserable to be around. There was no middle ground. I let my mood be dictated by people I had never met who were playing a child’s game on TV.

Thankfully, a few loyal friends gave me a wakeup call. They reminded me that while sports can be fun and enjoyable, they shouldn’t have such a powerful effect on my mood. Letting these recreational games determine my outlook had essentially made sports into an idol.

Ouch!

In my head, idolatry was primarily about false gods and worshiping money. Little did I realize that I had taken an enjoyable hobby and made it my idol. No, I didn’t bow down and worship athletes or pray to a baseball bat. But my engagement in watching sports and following my teams consumed my time, my thoughts, and my emotions. Sports became … a god.

Today I am proud to say I’m a recovering sportsaholic. I still enjoy watching my teams and rooting for them, but I don’t let the outcomes of games determine how I feel or what I feel. I find enjoyment in the events themselves, knowing that when the clock hits zero, I can turn off the TV and focus on the more important things in life. By keeping sports in perspective, I can keep my priorities where they need to be and keep the pillows on the couch.

David Jones, Sports Spectrum Reader