Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, July 4 - Athletes & Warriors

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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Throughout Scripture, God often called upon warriors who exhibited bravery. From Joshua to Gideon’s 300 and David’s mighty men, courage and toughness were common traits. However, most of these warriors’ stories revolved around faithfulness.

Today, we can see similarities to these Biblical soldiers within the military, law enforcement, and the first-responder community. However, athletes of faith also embody these traits, exercising the gifts of faithfulness, self-control and patience (Galatians 5:22-23).

Sports fans know that fields and arenas worldwide are home to modern-day gladiators. Athletes’ competitiveness separates them from others and earns them accolades, whether through scholarship offers or signing with a professional team.

It is often said that football players win the game through their work in the weight room. Athletes undergo extensive training and exhibit extraordinary physical abilities. They demonstrate dedication to their sport through conditioning and diet, emphasizing their bodies’ value and spiritual connection (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, above).

Christian athletes exhibit a work ethic that sets them apart, underlining God’s expectation that His creation stays active and works heartily (Proverbs 14:23). Competitive sports can quickly expose sluggards, as Proverbs 21:25 suggests, and their mindset can’t last.

Most sports require physicality, resiliency and a strong demeanor, which faith can mold. The realistic expectations of disappointment and injuries test the best of souls. Trusting the Lord is essential for any Christian athlete, regardless of the situation.

Of course, Biblical warriors and modern-day soldiers have much greater expectations when entering a battle, as legendary Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy emphasized: “This is not a must-win [game] … World War II was a must-win.” Yet, Christian athletes compete to win their game. Every athlete strives for the accomplishment that winning brings. Among the team, there is a camaraderie similar to that of Christian soldiers going into battle.

Above all, Christian athletes can have a powerful influence by giving their all and attributing all success to God. The mentality of leaving everything on the field highlights believers who play their best, exhibit a Christian spirit, and strive to glorify their Savior in every situation.

Christian athletes may draw many parallels to Biblical warriors, but their most substantial connection lies in their unwavering faith and reliance on the Lord.

— David Crum

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