There’s honor in standing up for what you believe in, even when it’s not the popular thing to do. The world may not want to hear the name of Jesus, they may be too focused on the individualistic, me-centered perspective of our culture, but I won’t be. Jesus is the whole reason I’m here and I want others to know it.
I think there are more people out there who believe this truth too, but they may be too afraid to say it. It only takes one leader to open the door for the Gospel and then others will join in. I, for one, will never shy away from my faith—it’s the foundation of who I am.
Most people have respect for someone who is not afraid to talk about what they believe in. In fact, they might even see you as an example to live by, whether they agree with you or not. I’ve brought a bunch of guys to our Bible study who may come just to observe, but as they see how others interact with each other and become vulnerable, they often want to join in.
I’ve realized that the greatest way for me to lead is to be vulnerable and share my struggles with others. I do sin, I am human, but I’m striving to be more like Christ daily. I don’t have everything all figured out; I’m depending on the Lord to help me draw closer to Him. That’s what people need to hear in order to relate to and be attracted to the Christian walk. They need to see humility and honesty lived out.
The Christian life is an everyday thing. It’s about living life with others while setting yourself apart. I hang out with the guys who lead different lifestyles—with different priorities and views—than I do, but we’re still friends. I let them know there are certain things I’m not going to let influence me. My willingness and ability to resist the temptations they give into speaks volumes. It shows them I love them and I still want to be there for them, but I also know my worth and I know Whom I represent. Being a leader doesn’t mean you don’t hang out with those who need to see Jesus, it means you show them His contagious and consistent love no matter what.
While I was experiencing major setbacks in my NFL career, I felt like I was growing closer to Christ and able to hear His voice more than I ever had before. For a while, I desperately wanted answers. I wanted to hear a direct voice from God, showing me what to do, where to go, and how to handle all that was happening. But I didn’t hear a voice. I felt like either He wasn’t talking to me or I was doing something wrong that was keeping me from hearing His voice. Soon I realized that God was teaching me to be patient. To be still.
I remember one day I was listening to praise music as I was getting ready. I hopped in the shower and then completely broke down. Out of nowhere, I started crying and pouring my heart out to God. I was asking God to let me hear His voice; I was submitting it all to Him. It was a breakthrough moment for me. A week later, I was signed by the Ravens. And as a result of my obedience and surrender to God, I feel like I’m closer to Him now more than I’ve ever been before.
People often act like being a Christian means you have to master perfection in life. They may even try to display this around those who haven’t experienced salvation through faith in Christ, but this often has the opposite effect of what we want people to gain from the Gospel. If Christians were perfect, we would have no need for Jesus. He is the only One who is perfect. It’s important for us to let others know we are broken. We’re broken, but dependent on the One who is perfect. We can’t live without Him.
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” —2 Corinthians 5:21
Being a Christ-follower means displaying your vulnerability and imperfection in order to point others to the Someone who is worthy of all the attention, focus, and glory. That is my purpose. That is my mission.
Brandon Boykin is a defensive back for the Baltimore Ravens and a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.