Sports fans often ask, “What’s wrong with football, etc?”
On the surface it’s a fair question. After all it’s ‘just a game’. Many men played football at various levels. It’s kind of an All American experience so it seems normal.
Let’s first address the question. What’s wrong with football. The real question which is applied to all aspects of our life is how do you determine if, in this case, football is wrong.
The Apostle Paul discusses this in Romans Chapter 6. He says, in the midst of his discussion of Christians being dead to sin and alive to God, in verse 13, : “and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. ”
What does this mean? Well Paul is saying what he has said before and that is ‘you reap what you sow’ [Galatians 6:7]. If you sow to the flesh you will reap the flesh which means if you sow carnal behavior into your old man you will reap carnal behavior [Galatians 6:8].
In other words if you stimulate your flesh, your outer man, your sensual nature that’s what you will reap. Since man is by nature idolatrous he will begin to worship, or to a lesser extent, become addicted to what he submits himself to.
Here’s how you can tell if you are becoming idolatrous. If, in the case with football, you were not able to attend the game, watch it or even know the score would you be at peace with that? If not you are becoming idolatrous.
So what Paul is encouraging us to do, since we are now dead, in this case to idolatry, is to submit ourselves to righteous acts. Paul also said in Galatians 6:8, “…if you sow to the Spirit you will reap eternal life.” So what would a righteous act be? These would include Bible study, prayer, engagement in Gospel ministry work, serving at your local church, fellowshipping with your family, loving your spouse, providing for your family, etc.
Again, using football as an example, we have only discussed the surface part of the sport much less the other sins involved with the game these days which include drunkenness, lust and essentially submitting yourself to being discipled by your particular team.
Here’s the point: there is no neutral ground in the Christian life: you are either submitting yourself to righteousness or unrighteousness. So ask yourself: what are you doing at the game [or with any activity]? Submitting yourself to righteousness or unrighteousness?