Thanks a lot David Platt, you’ve gone and destroyed one of my favorite past times— Alabama football. Up until about an hour ago I was perfectly fine with spending hours every Saturday watching games, using pretty much every spare minute of my week talking , blogging, podcasting about and generally being OK with having my life revolve around Alabama. So thanks, I am officially convicted and have to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to do with my life.. /sarcasm font
That may be pretty heavy sarcasm but it’s true. This thought, that football is an idol in my life, is something that has been brewing in my soul the last 4-8 months but really came to tipping point 4 weeks ago when I was interviewed by the BBC regarding football and violence in American culture. While explaining to the BBC host how incredibly important football is to southern culture and how we as normal people worship the literal ground football players walk on, I began to be convicted. And then I listened to David Platt’s sermon “The Cross and the Christian’s Sport”.
Go listen. NOW.
If you are a sports fan of any team, you call yourself a Christian, and you didn’t feel the Holy Spirit convicting you of your idolatry while listening to that sermon you are either 1) A better person than everyone else or 2) A lying, prideful person. So which is it?
Honestly, for me, it was a little of both as it took almost the entire sermon to realize how much weight I put on Alabama football. The Hebrew word for glory is kabod (K-B-D) and means “weight” or “heaviness.” Think about that and apply it to how much “weight” you place on stuff, and not just football, in your own life. It can be TV, friends, family, worship or anything that is weighted heavier than God in your life. For me, at times, I place more weight or “glory” in Alabama football, CrossFit, and many other things than Jesus or his gospel. What a depressing thought.
My emotions are wrapped in football. During games, how I feel the next day or even just moments after a game has ended. Don’t even think about watching a game with me cause I am over the top and probably not very christian like during games. Worst of all, my kids are not allowed to talk to or even touch daddy during games. How awful is that? What kind of man puts a FOOTBALL GAME above his kids affection?
It’s not funny the dogs hide when a game is on, it’s just sad.
You may not know this but outside of this little blog that only a few people read each week, I am also a full-time project manager for the state of Florida, and I also manage Roll ‘Bama Roll the largest Alabama sports blog on the interwebs. So part of my job, and I do get paid for it, is to blog about Alabama sports. Literally, I have to. So how do I, a guy who covers a sport part-time, balance Alabama and the gospel in my life? How do I show the grace of Jesus and still have a healthy enjoyment of Alabama football?
For starters my plan is to take David’s suggestion and measure the joy I find in football to my joy in the cross. Football is a good gift from God but the greatest gift of all is his son, Jesus Christ. I can’t say I will automatically be able to remove my emotions while watching games, but I have to tell myself over and over that my joy is found in Christ and not on whether or not Alabama wins a football game. I will then apply this same “weight” to my family. Football must be something my family watches as a family.
David Platt uses a CJ Mohaney quote in his sermon that cut me real deep:
“Our kids will pursue what we as parents applaud.”
When my son or daughter sees me get upset over football what does that teach them about me or even Jesus? I am suppose to be the spiritual leader of my family and if I can’t hold back my anger during a football game, how does that positively affect them? I don’t want my son’s joy to be wrapped in Alabama football’s success, which is fleeting and can be taken from us in a moment. I want him to enjoy football with me, not hate it cause of me. Rather I want him to understand where his true joy is found and that only in Christ can we walk in confidence. I want my family to see where I place God in my life and have them know they are more important to me than silly ol’ football.
This is my hope.