We talked with Washington Redskins punter Tress Way about his faith journey, how he’s living in the increase of Christ, and the mentors who have impacted his life. Here’s what he had to say:
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
The first thing I do every single morning is pray for our family — for myself, my wife, our marriage, that God would bless and protect our children from the tops of their heads to the bottom of their feet. I remember my youth pastor telling me that one of the few things in the Bible you hear regarding Jesus’ upbringing is that He grew in wisdom, stature and favor with God and men — so that’s what I pray over my children each day. I pray for my in-laws and my brother and sister-in-law and their marriages, because I know how much my own marriage means to me.
The first thing I do when I get in the facility is spend 15-20 minutes on the Bible plan I’m going through on my YouVersion app. We all know that if you get going 100 miles an hour and you miss spending time with God even for one day, it affects your day. I want each of my days to be affected in the positive way. God’s grace starts new every day so my relationship with Him starts new every day as well. I want to fall more in love with the Lord and with my wife every day. As I seek Him, I aim to be a better man, husband and father in that order. Everything else will line up along the way if I get those things right.
Describe how your journey with Christ began.
I was saved when I was 12 years old at a massive youth retreat in Tulsa, Okla. It was the first time in my life when I felt the overwhelming tug of Jesus’ call on my heart. But I didn’t come to really know Christ until my senior year in high school. At this time, I had a best friend who was making all the wrong decisions in his life. And only six hours before he was involved in a car accident and died, I prayed with him to accept Jesus Christ into His life as his Savior.
Before that day, I was a poser for Christ. I had a cross necklace my mom gave me, I was at youth group and knew the words to the songs, but I didn’t really trust Him with the rest of my life. Though I had everything going for me on the outside, I had no desire on the inside. But when I saw God’s grace in that moment, when I saw Him save my friend six hours before he passed away, I realized I really wanted to know Him and wrap my head around His grace and love for His people. Now my biggest struggle is still understanding and fully grasping the unlimited measure of grace He has for us.
Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
Hands down my mom and dad. I learned how to hold a steering wheel as well as how to treat a woman from my dad. My mom was always incredible; she prayed for us boys continually and showed us endless love, while not pressuring us to seek Christ. Instead, she let us find Christ and His grace on our own. She was so full of His grace and love herself. By observing the way she raised us boys, I learned how I want to raise my own kids.
Then there was my high school football chaplain and FCA sponsor, Doc Blevins. He was the one to first ask me to speak in front of others about my faith. He was always pouring into my life and eventually asked me to be the president of our FCA group. Doc was a big game-changer in my life, pushing me into a leadership role. Now, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I enjoy thinking and caring for other folks and Doc was the one who truly sparked that passion in me.
One of the greatest mentors in my life has been Kent Bowles, our FCA sponsor in college. He taught me how to speak anywhere from elementary school groups to prison rooms; he showed me how to relate to and love others. His influence truly changed my life in the sense of being a Christian leader — how to lead your life, family and friends by example. Kent and I are still really tight and talk almost every day.
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
John 3:30 is one of my favorite verses. What I love about this idea is that it’s ongoing. If I was to ask someone, who is truly rock solid in their faith, how they are doing in this category, they wouldn’t be able to answer, “Yeah, I’ve done that well.” No one can answer like that. This is always going to be an ongoing battle for us as Christians. I’m so thankful for the circumstances He’s placed me in — to play in the NFL, meet the girl of my dreams, have two miracle babies — but all of that stems from this verse. Anyone who tastes Christ increasing in their life, and sees the miracles He can do, wants more of it.
What is your life verse and why?
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” — 1 Peter 1:8
People often ask my wife if I ever have a bad day and yes, there are bad days. But if you really think about the truth of this verse and the call to know and trust and love Jesus, you can’t help but be filled with an inexpressible joy you cannot gain from anything or anyone other than the Lord. For instance, my wife is absolutely beautiful and incredible, but I get my joy from the Lord, not her. I’m only able to treat her with the love and respect I do, and she for me, because we’re connected to the Lord. We wouldn’t have the joy and love in this life that we have if we didn’t have the Lord as No. 1 in our lives.
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.