Worship: Reverent homage paid to God through formal or ceremonious adoration. By this standard definition, many have come to place a stereotype on worship. People often think of worship as what they do at church; things such as singing, reciting a benediction communion, or even missionary work outside of the church. Even these acts of worship are confined by our imaginations to how we perceive them from media, and from our ritualistic practices.
It’s against all commonality for someone to imagine worshiping God by playing a sport, or pushing themselves physically until they’ve exhausted their energy. Let me tell you 5 simple ways to worship God through sport. These few ideologies of combining worship and sport helped to me to take my game, and faith to a whole new level. With the right mindset you can do the same!
1. Recognize where your strength is derived from
Whether you’re an all-star football player, a newbie tennis player, or a weekend marathon junkie anything we strive to do requires strength. Mental and physical, sometimes we feel we don’t have enough, other times we’re endowed with the ability to baffle even ourselves. We can hone in on our untapped potential or sharpen our skills by practicing, lifting, etc. but even that we can’t do on out own. One of my favorite quotes comes from abortion survivor,
Do you not realize you cannot make your own heart beat?!…Any breath you take is a gift from God. -Gianna Jessen
This statement couldn’t be any more potent. We cannot make our own hear beat, nor can we control the way we die, all we can control is how we live. The strength to do so is a gift we’re given.
2. Endure hardship
Sports aren’t always fun and games, you’re going to lose, get injuries, and face grueling training sessions. Own them. One way I take ownership of a tough training session is thinking about the brutality Jesus endured for us upon the cross. By looking at times given in the Bible of when his crucifixion started, it’s estimated He hung from the cross between 4-6hrs. I personally believe Jesus was physically strong. To endure being beaten near death and then to have the strength to lift Himself on the cross for an afternoon is baffling. If Jesus can hang for hours on end for me, the least I can do is give him my all in a few second sprint/lift.
There’s always a bright side to hardship, healing is the next to follow. After a defeat, we crave to win. After a hard lift, we grow stronger. After an injury, our gratitude for health is greater. After Christ died, he rose from the dead, completing the salvation of mankind.
3. Give it your all
Jesus gave it all through his death, so let’s give it all through our life. You’ll never know what you can truly be if you habitually sell yourself short. Jesus didn’t half heartedly pursue us, He literally and bluntly stated He loves us so much He would die to save us. The most famous Bible verse states:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, so that whoever believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
and also in John 15:13
Greater love has no man than this: that someone lay down his own life for his friends.
4. Enjoy His glory
As stated in Psalms 19, God’s glory is in everything, as everything is His and His creation. As we are part of His creation, we too are vessels of God’s glory. Remember, we can’t give God glory because it already belongs to Him , but we can surly bear witness to it. How? Do sport you love to do and enjoy the fruits it brings to your life. For example, if your love to run, indulge in His creation and the intricacies of your surroundings. If you’re part of a team sport, enjoy the friendships that build from the camaraderie.
How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
How plainly it shows what he has done!
Each day announces it to the following day;
each night repeats it to the next. (psalms 19: 1-2)
5. Celebrate in Victory, even if it doesn’t belong to you
It sure does feel great to win a competition, but finding the fruit of a defeat can be hard. Think about what I said in endure hardship. Just because you didn’t win doesn’t mean you won’t ever win again. See the loss as God’s way of building you up differently than your opponent. In that moment, God chose to thrive your opponent through victory. A defeat may very well be God’s plan to thrive you. He may be using the loss to build you up, and motivate you so when your victory does come, it will all the more enjoyable. Not even King David, the man after God’s own heart won every battle. If I do recall, he spent time hiding in a cave before he could return to his position of power. After emerging from the cave his faith was stronger and God granted him a great victory by defeating the Philistines and saving the people of Keilah. (1 Samuel ch. 22 & 23).