Stories

Born to Play

Date posted: 30/06/17

 

 

Let me tell you why we do it.

 

Because we were born to play. Because it’s in our blood and in our bones. Because God gave us talents, passions and opportunities, and when we’re playing sport, we know we were made for this.

 

Do you recognise this feeling: that sport is in your DNA and it’s part of who you are? If you wake up on game-day and you’re buzzing because it’s the highlight of your week, then you are born to play! In Genesis, we see God created everything on this earth and when he looked at all his creation, including sport, he said, ‘it was good’.

 

Yet we spoil it. We don’t play the way God wants us to. We so often use sport to serve ourselves: to earn love, identity, glory, security, success, approval for ourselves. We rejected God, we try to replace Him and face the consequences.

 

Sport and the way we play it can show us a lot about the world we live in. We see our brokenness as we play. Can you see this in your own life? Can you see the times when sport replaces God for you as the thing you worship?

In Genesis 3 we see sin for the first time. Ironically the Greek work for sin (Hamartia) is a sporting metaphor. It means to shoot and miss the mark, to fall short of the target. As sportspeople, we understand the concept of shooting wide, and as Christians we can understand the concept of falling short of God’s standards, and the consequences that then come about.

 

But God loved us and reached out to us. He showed his unique love through his son Jesus, who lived among us, who died for us so we can be forgiven, to free us from our sin. Who rose up from death and offers us new life, a new relationship with God, for everyone who returns to Him.

 

Sin spoils everything - including sport and how we play it. The good news though is with the death of Jesus Christ, sin is defeated. 1 Peter 3:18 says, ‘For Christ died for sin once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.’ What good news this is! When we allow God to take control of our lives, all the flawed things - including playing sport - start to get mended.

 

That’s why there’s a new way to play. Wherever we are, whatever our sport, we remember God’s love for each one of us. We remember the new life he’s called us to. And now we play with joy and freedom the sport we were born to play.

 

Romans 12:1-2 exhorts the Romans to live in view of God’s mercy. Implied is the fact that Christian ethics are the Christian’s grateful obedience in response to what God has done for them in Christ. Paul is saying that God in Christ has saved us and restored His image within us. We now have the power of God to begin to restore the use of our sporting talents for his pleasure alone and our relationships for the sake of our sporting friends. Paul talks about offering our bodies as a ‘living sacrifice’. This is when we worship God - when we give every piece of our minds, bodies, time, everything to God - that’s worship!

When we play our sport we can play in the way God designed it to be and we can look to be people who live and play in a way which shows people Jesus. If you are born to play - go out there and play! And go out and make sport your mission - represent him as you play your sport.

 

 


 

Other useful resources

1. Born to Play by Graham Daniels and Stuart Weir. 

Click here to buy the book now for only £2.

 

2. Sports Mission Pack

A free resource pack to help you and your church make the most of the summer of sport ahead of us and to reach out to sportspeople in your community is available now. The pack includes a download of this film as well as a multimedia sports quiz and various guides about how you could do sports mission in your community. Find out more here.