Athlete, You Can Glorify God


Athlete, You Can Glorify God

Tom Petersburg

1 Peter 4:16 (ESV)

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

Athletes know well what shame feels like. You have experienced it in the game, in looking foolish, in being defeated. You have probably experienced shame when you were not included in the “inner circle” of the team. 

Shame is one of the most powerful emotions we experience. People will do anything to escape being on the receiving end of it. 

Coaches use it to squeeze everything they can from an athlete’s performance. The media uses it to bolster their positions. Culture warriors use it to squelch any disagreement.

Peter said that if we suffer for being a Christian, we should reject the shame. It is illegitimate. Don’t be drawn into it. 

As a chaplain, I was struck by the way a Christian rookie handled pressure to fit in on the team. When his unit planned a night out to the clubs and strip joints, they didn’t even include him. 

I asked how that played out, to which he replied, “I left no doubt as they got to know me that Christ was first in my life.” He earned his position on the team by his play, not his nightlife.

He had no shame. In this case, he preempted it. 

Instead of getting stuck in shame, Peter tells us to glorify God in that name, “Christian.” Christian means those who belong to Christ. 

In the days of the early church, Christian was a derogatory name given by the world. It was associated with hatred and persecution. 

Glorify is a broad biblical term. We glorify God by praising Him for the privilege of suffering for Him. It means to honor Him by living in a Christlike manner. Peter calls us to a mindset that preempts the shame that the world loves to inflict on people.

Today’s devotional is one of five this week on being “Out of Step with the Culture” by Tom Petersburg.

Tom Petersburg,


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