Friday, September 11, 2009

"If 19-year-old boys are ruining your day because of what they do with a ball, that's a problem."

JT linked to an interview with Matt Chandler of The Village. He asks two questions:
* What stirs your affections for Jesus Christ?

* And what robs you of those affections?
So far, so good. Then he gets to meddling, as they say.
Sanctification here at The Village begins by answering two questions. What stirs your affections for Jesus Christ? And what robs you of those affections? Many of the things that stifle growth are morally neutral. They're not bad things. Facebook is not bad. Television and movies are not bad. I enjoy TV, but it doesn't take long for me to begin to find humorous on TV what the Lord finds heartbreaking.

The same goes for following sports. It's not wrong, but if I start watching sports, I begin to care too much. I get stupid. If 19-year-old boys are ruining your day because of what they do with a ball, that's a problem. These things rob my affections for Christ. I want to fill my life with things that stir my affections for him. . . .

We want our people to think beyond simply what's right and wrong. We want them to fill their lives with things that stir their affections for Jesus Christ and, as best as they can, to walk away from things that rob those affections—even when they're not immoral.
Great words to remember. I have a few thoughts.

I love sports. I used to love them too much. I, along with any number of sports fanatics, would have my day--no, my week--ruined by a game. I had too much invested there. Thankfully, I've made some progress in this. My wife seems to think this is why the Aggies have stunk for so long, b/c God was dealing with my idol. If that's the case, sorry Ags. He has been messing with yours too!

Secondly, while fully agreeing that there are times when we simply need to "walk away" from those things that ruin our affections for Christ, we still need to work through them. For example, food can function this way. But we can't go cold turkey on food!

What we need to do is learn to use the gift of food for God's glory. Same thing with alcohol, sex, influence, tv, investing, shopping, parks, facebook, etc. No, I'm not saying everyone has to use each and every gift from God. But sometimes, I fear the impression is given that the answer to our struggles is simply to 'walk away' from 'the things of the world' instead of learning to engage them correctly.

The Christian life is then viewed merely as a strategy of keeping the corrupting influence of the world far away, rather than dealing with the corruption within my own heart that takes the good gifts of God and perverts them for my own selfish reasons. In other words, it's a problem when the problem is viewed 'out there' and not within the core of my being. If it is out there, I can manage the issue. If it's "in here", then I desperately need Christ.

The worst examples of this are people who say sports, drink, tv, etc., always ruin appetite for Christ. Therefore it is always wrong for everyone to participate in these activities. The word for this is legalism. [Disclaimer: No, I'm not saying this is what Chandler is saying.]

So how should a Christian view sports? Should s/he have nothing to do with it? I think that part of the solution is to bring our thinking under the lordship of Christ. Or another way to put it is, How should we think Christianly about sports? Is it possible that sports can actually increase my appetite for Christ? I believe so.

To that end, here's a good book that I would recommend as well: Game Day for the Glory of God: A Guide for Athletes, Fans, & Wannabes.

Says the author, a self avowed Christian who 'absolutely loves sports,'
"DO I ever thank god for the incredible amount of pleasure that I receive from sports...? Let us resolve from this point forward that we will not enjoy the gift of sports without giving thanks and honor to the Giver himself. Let us recognize that sports are indeed gifts from a generous God to undeserving sinners, and let our enjoyment of sports be marked by thankful hearts."
Simply put, yes, we can enjoy sports as a gift from God, but like any of His gifts, we value the gift over the Giver of the gift. That's where the trouble begins, and what I think Chandler is talking about.

This new one looks good too, though I haven't read it yet: The Reason for Sports: A Christian Fanifesto.

Here's a link to the whole Chandler interview.


John said...

Your Dad has had his bouts with this problem too from time to time. Perspective is everything.

Good thought there, Son.

Texana said...

So much easier not to worry about the Aggies when local TV and radio don't even report of them let alone carry them. Who did we play? What was the score? Who's the QB this year--who's the coach?

See what I mean..... Went out today and didn't see a single maroon shirt--well, except for Virginia Tech--there's a lot of those, contaminated with orange.