“Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.’” — Matthew 16:24
In Scripture, Christ paints a picture of us dying to an internal battle of what we want — of our flesh saying, “What about me?” We can’t have one single healthy relationship with others, whether a friend, spouse, child or anyone else, without first dying to Christ. We must see everything we do from the perspective of understanding that nothing is of our own power.
Nothing I do is for my own glory or by my own power. Everything I’ve done, everything I’ve been given and blessed with has come from Him. When we surrender our lives and the things we hold onto or want to take credit for, we become free. When we finally surrender those strongholds, we discover peace. There’s no peace like the covering of Jesus Christ. Everything else is fleeting; His love is the only thing that will last.
It seems so backwards though, doesn’t it? Why should I give up all these things that make me feel good? At the end of the day, there’s so much more joy and fulfillment found in Jesus Christ. When you surrender everything you have, He gives you Himself in return.
I grew up in a single-parent home, raised by my mom. My dad wasn’t around. My mom, who grew up a preacher’s daughter, experienced some rough times in the Church. This produced negativity in her toward the Church (although now she is doing great things for the Church!). My own journey to find Christ didn’t really begin until I went to college.
I went to the University of Texas and found myself injured quite a few times. I’ve been injured a lot, in fact. It’s unbelievable to realize how God has used injuries to cause me to seek Him. I’ve torn an achilles, broken a foot, torn my groin off the bone, and I missed 17 out of 26 games in two years. These setbacks really rocked me. I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t handle the injuries well.
But I had great role models around me in college and a great church nearby. I had plenty of resources around me to seek. At first, I went to church seeking to be a better person. But God used me getting in the Body of Christ to show me that this faith is more than just trying to be a good person.
My senior year in college was the first time I really sought Christ with everything I knew I had. I really wanted to just figure out what this was all about. Faith in Christ is more than just checking church off the list. It’s a daily sacrifice — a daily death to one’s self. Every day brings on new challenges and your flesh pulls you to fresh struggles each day.
My moment of true surrender came during my rookie year in Philadelphia. After all those injuries, I was blessed enough to be drafted here in the third round. It didn’t make sense; I don’t know why they chose me. We have an amazing group of Godly guys here who have really poured into me.
That entire year, I struggled with whether I should become engaged to my wife. Finally, I surrendered; I acknowledged that Christ was pushing me in that direction. After making that commitment, I went to my team chaplain and told him, “I’m done running.” Two weeks later I was baptized in the pool at the back of our facility. And ever since, I’ve been diving headfirst into my faith in Christ.
— Jordan Hicks, Philadelphia Eagles middle linebacker
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.