We talked with Colorado Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday about how he’s living in the increase of Christ, his faith journey, and the mentors that have impacted his life. Here’s what he had to say:
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
My faith affects everything I do — how I husband, how I parent, and how I interact with my teammates. I try to model the Biblical disciplines that demonstrate what it takes to be a good husband, father, friend and teammate. Without the guidance of God’s Word and His Holy Spirit in my life, marriage would be a lot more difficult, parenting would be much more frustrating, and playing baseball would not be as much fun.
I hope that as I grow closer to God, I continue to be sanctified, becoming more like Jesus. My hope is that I would behave more like Him than my natural tendencies would dictate, and more like Him than the way the world would have me behave. In no way did I turn into the perfect person when I first believed in Christ. No one does, but as I pursue a relationship with Him — and understand the discipline it takes to obey Him — my lifestyle and relationships change for the better.
Describe how your journey with Christ began.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always thought I believed in God, but I didn’t really understand what that meant. When I was growing up, I didn’t get a chance to go to church much because my dad was a baseball coach and he was always working on Sundays. I never really knew much about God. When I got to the minor leagues, I found some really good mentors in my teammates, who showed me what it looked like to be a Christ-follower. As I began to dive into God’s Word, understanding what it meant, I began to pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I can’t necessarily pinpoint a time when I gave my life over to Christ. Instead, my journey to Christ has been a gradual one — one I continue to pursue and trust in Jesus.
Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
There are times in our lives when we become the Timothy and God brings the Pauls — Christian mentors who can help lead and shape our lives to draw nearer to Christ — in our lives to mentor us. Hopefully, in turn, we can then be Pauls to Timothys that God brings into our lives, taking our turn to mentor and encourage others. In the minors, Jay Jones and Seth Taylor were two teammates of mine who were a little bit older and much further along in their faith than I was. They both came alongside me and showed me what it looked like to walk with Christ daily. They also showed me what firm, faithful marriages looked like, which prepared me for my own marriage with Leslee.
Currently, I have strong relationships with a few mentors/friends of mine such as Waino (Adam Wainwright) and Lance Berkman — men who have a profound effect on my life and faith in Christ.
What does the increase of Christ mean to you?
The increase of Christ means being able to put yourself in a proper perspective in relation to God and the Bible. The Bible is about God, not us. Jesus must increase in our minds and lives, which is the very opposite of what our culture tells us should happen. Culture tells us that everything in life is about us and what we desire for ourselves, but Scripture says the opposite! Increasing Christ in our lives means that we need to put our trust in God and live our life to honor and glorify Him instead of ourselves.
We often diminish God, or visualize Him as a genie in a bottle who is waiting to grant us our wishes, but that’s not who He is. God is bigger than that and we are here to increase His name.
What is your life verse? Why?
1 Timothy 3:1-5 talks about what it looks like to be a real man of God — the man I want to be.
“This is a trustworthy saying: ‘If someone aspires to be a church leader, he desires an honorable position.’ So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”
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.