Christians and Sports

by Rayola Kelley

        Q: Can Christians become too obsessed with sports? I am having trouble with my son in this area because sports are far more exciting and important to him than God. Every time I try to talk to him about this he becomes angry. 

       A:  Yes, Christians can become too obsessed with sports. In fact, it has become a big idol for some individuals. There are a couple of reasons that sports are so popular.

1)     They appeal to the fleshly lusts or appetites of the natural man. These fleshly attractions bring a certain sensationalism that is very pagan in nature. The problem with such sensationalism is, is that it can become quite addictive to those who do not keep sports in a proper perspective.

2)     Sports allow individuals to escape present reality. People have a hard time facing the drudgery or challenges of their lives. In sports they can get caught up with the excitement and the competition and battle of it, while forgetting about the vanity and problems that seem to plague their life. Sports are also a means that allows all pent up emotions to be spent out as these people live the experience.

       The natural or fleshly man cannot respond to the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:13-15). If a Christian becomes caught up with sports in an idolatrous way, sports will become the natural preference when it comes to personal pursuits and desires of life. What we prefer, or desire, will determine what we expose ourselves to. Since sports are of the world, they will bring those who live for them under the influence of the world and expose them to the rebellious spirit of the world (Ephesians 2:2).

        Needless to say, such a godless environment of the world will dull the spiritual senses of those Christians who continually expose themselves to it. Once the spiritual senses are dulled down, such Christians will not have any real spiritual inclination towards God. In fact, they will often consider the idea of God outdated and His Word obsolete. Since they prefer the world, they will rebel against separation from it, which is what the Bible instructs. However, such association with the world will put these individuals at enmity with God. God’s Word also reminds us that the world is temporary and already doomed. But, those who do the will of God will live forever (2 Corinthians 6:17-18; James 4:4; 1 John 2:17).

       Your son has fallen into a trap. It is void of life and has no real substance to it. But, he prefers it at this time. My advice is that you get on your knees and seek God’s intervention and wisdom on his behalf. It is a hard place to be because as Christians, we often fail to recognize how we have lost ground to the world’s influences, until we have to face the vanity and destruction of our bondage.