This is one thing that I have struggle for a long time to understand and to live out. Having played competitive football for a long time, and now experiencing Seminary Flag Football…I have had a tough time figuring out how to be competitive at intense levels while still representing a transformative faith.
And as people who have played with me or against me can attest, a new person appears when competition is involved, whether on the field or at the poker table; plus I see that new person in other friends as well. It makes me wonder how can we effectively represent Christ when we try to defeat an opponent.
I know people will argue that competition helps one learn how to deal with lose, working as a team, push oneself beyond one’s limits, etc.
But doing so at the expense of another person/team (community of people) seems to contradict the essential Christian message:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
While working for the Falcons (for a day and a half) I remember cleaning up a player’s locker who had Philippians 4:13 pasted on his locker. But is playing a competitive sport such as football what God intended Christ’s strength to be used for?
Every game I suited up for I had Colossians 3:23 (“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”) taped to my arm–Was my working with all my effort at blocking my rival’s NG, to the extent that I blew out his knee ending his college career, what God had meant?
While running, I have found a new form of competition…with myself. And this form is not at the expense or exploit another person. I found out what it meant for my body to be pushed to the limits–puking in the gutter, having to stop and walk, collapsing in the apartment after a hard run–but I also learned that my body can achieve tremendous goals.