Spiritual Practice


Douglas Gamble

Playing or watching sports consumes more and more of our lives, but it doesn’t have to squeeze our time with God. God wants to be involved in every part of our lives—even sports—and can teach us through practice, discipline, and competition to become more like Jesus.

Let’s invite God into our game by remembering to ask ourselves questions such as these:

  • Am I improving, working hard in practice and in competition? The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23a, NIV).
  • Am I cooperating with my teammates, not being selfish but building them up?
  • Am I submitting to authorities, to coaches and referees?
  • Am I not giving up, even when I’m not playing well or when my team is losing? (Imagine David saying, “Sorry, that Goliath guy is just too big!”)
  • Am I winning without being conceited or arrogant, recognizing that my body, mind, and talents are gifts from God?
  • Am I losing without blaming others, learning the lessons that losing teaches?
  • Am I respecting the dignity of my opponents, knowing they too are people for whom Jesus died?
  • Am I controlling my temper, my tongue, and my attitude?


Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Philippians 1:27a (NIV)

REMEMBER: Winning is less important than our character and our walk with God. But through sports we can learn how to walk with and not away from God.

—from devozine (July/August 2012). Copyright © 2012 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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