Competing in sports is a fun way to challenge others. Most adults have memories of competing in sports when they were kids. Other than having good sportsman like conduct, I bet most of you did not realize that the Bible talks about competing as well. Several passages in the Bible address athletes and sports. Since I have been a coach in the past as well as participated in sports, I thought that it would be interesting to dig into the scriptures to see what they said.
One thing that the Bible teaches us about sports is that there are rules. The rules of the game dictate how the game is played and won. To receive victory over your competitor, you must win by the rules.
Timothy 2:5 NASB Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.
The Bible also talks about the prize for winning. Now I understand that our society thinks that everyone should get a participation trophy. But the Bible is very clear on who should receive a prize, and it is the person that works the hardest to obtain victory. Victory is won by following the rules and competing better than your competition. What does the Bible say about competing in sports to win you ask? Take a look at this passage from 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NASB Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Is competing in sports a good thing to do?
Competing against others is a great thing to do. If you look at it from a Christian world view, competing gives you an opportunity to show a Christ-like example to others. There are times where you are going to win, and there are times where you are going to lose. Showing a Christ-like example in both of these instances is important. Lets your light shine.
Competing is not always about winning. Sure, most of us like to win all of the time. I look at competition as a way to better myself and push my limits. If you are not challenged and win all of the time, it is hard to grow. Not only develop physically but spiritually as well. Sometimes losing is a good thing because it gives us an opportunity to humble ourselves in front of others. Showing Christian sportsmanlike conduct is what we should strive for as Christ followers.
Teach your children they are not just representing the team that they play on; they are representing Christ as well in the sports that they play.