1“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2

As athletes, we have to earn our place, position and success. We all know that if we never put in the work then we will never receive the reward. Simply put, we get out what we put in. Well, Jesus flips that reality on its head. The passage above tells us that “…in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice…” Did you catch it? We offer our lives as worship in response to God’s mercy. God doesn’t wait to see what you will do for Him to offer you mercy. Neither does He evaluate your effort and keep score of your success and failures. God has already freely given His mercy to you through Jesus Christ.

In light of God’s mercy, we are moved to offer everything we do as worship to God, including our sport. This can be a challenging, yet freeing, truth to grasp: We were created by God to worship – call us worshippers (not merely thinkers or doers). So, the reality is, if you’re not worshipping God, then you’re worshipping someone or something else. To be specific, when you’re playing in your game, you are either worshipping God with your play or someone else. Most often, at least in my case, I would play for my glory rather than God’s.

Here’s the deal: worshipping God is not singing worship songs throughout the entire game. We worship God on the field just like we are called to off of it: by loving and respecting those around us (even the officials and opponents), by playing with gratitude and humility, and by selflessly and sacrificially giving our best effort. Just like any parent, God delights when He sees His child strive for excellence and victory. However, we must be careful to not idolize winning over all other things and to certainly not equal winning and success to bringing God glory.

I believe when we consider all that God has done for us there is no other response than to worship Him on and off the field. The truth is that even when we fail to respond the way we should, God’s mercy and love for us is never-ceasing. Think about the world’s idea of karma: you get what you deserve. Praise be to God that He doesn’t approach us this way! Don’t conform or give in to that way of thinking when it comes to your relationship with God. Transformation happens when we begin to live (or, worship) in response to what we know to be true. Therefore, when you step out onto that field today, offer your play as worship in response to God’s constant and never-ending mercy for you.

  • Consider all that God has done for you.
  • Thank and praise God for His mercy for you.
  • Ask God to help your play be an act of worship for His glory.

Pre-Game Playlist: