I’ve always envisioned myself in the NFL. Since I was little I dreamed about being a successful professional football player with a lot of money, cars, a big house and being famous. I wanted glory and all the accolades that came with this career. But that was a shallow dream. While I do have a lot of those things now, my perspective has changed a lot. The difference is that now I see things from a Kingdom perspective.
The NFL is about more than just football to me. More than anything it’s a platform to share my faith and grow the Kingdom of God. My main mission is to make disciples and make God’s name known to as many as I can. I could lose the house, the car, the money, the fame and the game tomorrow, but the one thing I will never lose is my relationship with my Father.
The mental shift happened for me about two years after I gave my life to Christ. I still wanted to be in the NFL but I now understood what it meant to be a Christian — that I’m a living missionary wherever I go. Now I’m living with a purpose to make God known in whatever arena I’m in. When I’m at home my mission is to bring others to know and love Christ more. When I’m in the locker room my aim is to glorify God and make disciples. When I entered the NFL, my football platform soon extended beyond the locker room. For the rest of my life, whether I’m playing, coaching, broadcasting or just out amongst the community, my life is simply about making His name known.
In the same way, my wife and I try to teach our children to be unashamed of the Gospel and to talk about Jesus. We want this to be the norm for them so we do it all the time around the house and at the dinner table. Our kids are young, but they understand. They know how to talk about God, who He is, and how much He loves us. Their understanding is evident in their lives even now. We often read Bible stories, watch Bible-based movies, and say prayers every night before bed so that Jesus is their everyday reality. I don’t want them to only see their daddy talk about Jesus when he’s on the football field. They need to know that he’s about Jesus all the time, whether he’s on vacation, at home or at work. I hope that every time they see daddy, they see Jesus.
My four-year-old daughter now says her prayers each night with no prompt. She starts by thanking God for all the things she has: toys, friends, family, etc… She also knows how to ask for forgiveness for the times when she is mean to her brother or sister. I can see she’s cultivating an authentic relationship with God. When she’s saying her prayers, yes her mommy and daddy are beside her, but she’s having a conversation with her Heavenly Father. That warms my heart so much. I also know her younger brother and sister are watching her in everything she does; they notice that this is important.
I want my kids to have heart-to-heart conversations with me about Jesus. I want them to have confidence in Christ and gain wisdom from the Holy Spirit. My wife and I try to point our children closer to Christ, guiding them in the way they should go. By making Jesus part of our everyday lives, they know that we can do nothing apart from Him. I want my kids to have the knowledge and understanding of God that I didn’t when I was growing up so they start out with a Kingdom perspective.
– Demario Davis
Demario Davis is a New York Jets linebacker. He is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.