Athlete, Own Your Sport and Your Faith


Athlete, Own Your Sport and Your Faith

Joel Pfahler

1 Timothy 4:15 (ESV)

Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.

Why do you play your sport?

Sure, you like it. At least most of the time. Maybe you have a financial incentive, such as a scholarship, sponsor or prize money. But deep down, why are you an athlete? 

Have you seriously considered why you dedicate a significant portion of your life training for your sport?   

I wrote down a list of reasons why I compete in my sport (track and field). This list helps me when I sometimes have doubts about whether or not all of the training is worth it. While I love my sport, others might question my dedication to it. Sometimes, I question my own dedication. Or, I’m just nervous before a competition and need some positivity. 

I found it helpful to write down this list, keep it somewhere where I’ll see it, and recite to myself before practice and competitions. 

Here’s a portion of my list.

  1. My athletic ability is one of my unique gifts that God created me to do.
  2. I feel close to God when I’m enjoying my sport.
  3. I feel satisfaction after completing races. 
  4. My self worth is not based on my performance. 
  5. I feel free to enjoy my sport, not needing to feel anxious or pressured by myself or anyone else.
  6. Being an athlete is a privilege that many people don’t get to enjoy.
  7. It’s satisfying to work toward goals and reach them.

I encourage you to make your own list, unique to you. Once you write it down and take it to heart, you will find a lot more confidence that your time playing your sport is time well spent. (You can apply this principle to other things besides being an athlete). 

Likewise, as a Christ-follower, you must take ownership of your faith. What are your reasons for believing in Jesus and following Him? Perhaps it is His unconditional love, the peace He gives, the truth He speaks.

In 1 Timothy 4:14-16, Paul instructed Timothy, his student, “Do not neglect the gift you have …”

“Practice these things (the Word of God and prayer, see 4:5), immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

It’s not enough to just believe in Jesus. You have to own it! Study the Bible and practice what it teaches. Get to know God through prayer. You will benefit as well as all who spend time with you. 

But you have to know your “why.”


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