I'm Not Going to Worship Football This Season
I love football.
Based on my totally subjective and completely biased opinion, it’s the best sport, and there isn’t a close second. There’s just something about it. The traditions, the rivalries, the fall weather, the anticipation and analysis throughout the week, the energy and anxiety of a close game in the 4th quarter. It’s unrivaled in the sports world.
For someone who wasn’t athletic enough to play it, and wasn’t even cool enough to hang with those who did, I’ve always loved football.
But this year, things are going to be different. I have challenged myself. I’m not going to worship football this season.
“Wait, what do you mean ‘worship’? How can you worship a sport?”
Well, when it comes to worship, many of us have a limited view. We think of worship as something only done in church sanctuaries on Sunday mornings in padded pews. But worship is more than singing and praying.
Worship extends to all of life. God created us to worship. We cannot not worship. It’s ingrained into our DNA. As Paul Tripp says, "You cannot divide human beings into those who worship and those who don't. Everybody worships; it's just a matter of what, or whom, we serve.”
So if everyone worships something, then as Tripp says, the question we need to ask ourselves is, “Who or what do I worship?”
The scary part is the answer to that question can be anything. We can worship anything when we esteem and value it above all else. (I’ve written more about that here.)
That’s called idolatry, which is much more than bowing down to golden statues. An idol is anything we worship in the place of God. And we are all guilty here. Whether we realize it or not, the root of our sin and struggles is that we tend to worship created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).
We place too much value and give too much priority to things that are not God. And for me, one of those things (on a long list) has been football.
But this season, I'm not going to worship football.
I’m not going to spend my entire weekend watching football, reading articles about football, scrolling social media for football, and playing fantasy football.
I’m not going to allow the final score of a football game to affect my attitude towards my family.
I’m not going to let the performance of my team set the mood for my entire week.
I’m not going to be distracted in church when I’m missing a game or forgot to set my fantasy lineup.
I’m not going to forsake serving my family by laying around all day in front of the TV.
I’m not going to be a bad example for my daughter by getting angry over a blown call or a game-changing mistake.
I’m not going to let someone’s fandom or trash talk affect the way I view them.
I’m not going to let something that is intended to be fun for me as a fan become anything more than fun.
Yes, I’m still going to watch and cheer for my teams. I’m still going to enjoy the game with family and friends. I’m not saying football is the devil like Bobby Boucher’s mom (or foosball as she calls it). I actually believe there is a God-glorifying way to enjoy sports as a fan. I just haven't always done that. And I also know those who play, coach, and work in the sports world have a different challenge and must find their own way to balance life and honor the Lord.
As a follower of Jesus who is daily in need of his grace, I've learned that my weak and sinful tendency is to let a good thing become the main thing. Football is just currently the one I'm attempting to tackle. (Sorry. Couldn't resist a bad pun.)