When everything’s perfect, it’s much easier to do what God’s calling us to do. But if anything small gets in the way — if our expectations aren’t met, situations change, or we get uncomfortable — it can suddenly be really hard to rely on Him.
This offseason I decided to go on a diet. This is not something I usually do, and there’s no way we as athletes can take part in any sort of fast during the season. And it was really difficult for me. It was crazy to see how angry I got when I was hungry. Feelings and emotions that I could normally suppress pretty easily rose up in me often.
While I was on this diet, it was even hard for me to get in the Scriptures and focus on the truths of God’s Word. Food is something I really love and depend on, we all do. And only being able to eat certain types of foods at certain times was a real struggle.
I’m glad God hasn’t asked me to fast in the desert for 40 days like Jesus did (Matthew 4:2) — at least He hasn’t yet. That being said, this was a wake-up call for me. I realized that our faith is never where it needs to be; I will always need to fine tune it and work on my relationship with the Lord.
This really showed me that I’m not fine; there are a lot of things I need to work out in my faith, such as depending on food more than depending on God. I can’t allow food to control my feelings and emotions instead of the Lord. I need to cling to God more and figure out more ways to please and follow Him on a deeper level. This is an area of my life I needed to confess to God and I still need to pray over these things so I don’t fall into the same reactions and sins I did. Growing up, you hear stories about men of faith fasting in the Bible and how they withstood it for a long period of times, but these tend to just feel like fairy tales. These men are as real as it gets! Now I respect them so much more.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in My presence, but now much more in My absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” — Philippians 2:12
While working out my faith, I’m extremely thankful for my wife, who is always by my side. She sees all that I’m going through; I couldn’t and wouldn’t hide it from her. She sees me at my worst and I know I can rely on her to help me through.
With my kids, I want them to see that I’m not perfect; I need to chase after God just as much as anyone else. It’s key for me to find ways to relate these lessons to my kids. Even though they’re young, I want to teach them these important truths I’m learning myself. One thing my wife and I harp on with our kids is making good choices. Whenever I fail to make a good choice, I let them know that I did and what the consequence is for my decisions.
We’re not perfect, we’re far from it. But we can continually seek God and work out our faith as we face challenges that bring us closer to Him.
— Trey Burton, Chicago Bears tight end
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.