Below is an excerpt from an article ‘More that a Game: A Theology of Sport’ by Jeremy Treat that deals with how sport should be played.
“How, then, does the gospel relate to sports? The gospel will not necessarily increase one’s batting average or their vertical leap, but it will give the sportsperson a new purpose, a new identity, and a new ethic.
A New Purpose
Why do people play sports? On the one hand, men and women play sports because they are created to play and want to use their gifts to glorify God. On the other hand, people often play sports as a way to justify themselves; to prove themselves to the world. Many can identify with the scene in Chariots of Fire where the Olympic runner Harold Abrahams, while preparing for the 100m dash, says that he has “ten lonely seconds to justify my whole existence.” Just as sports were created good but can become twisted by sin, many people begin playing sports with a love for the game but then turn to using sports for a deeper love of fame, money, or accomplishments. Sports begin as a gift but can easily evolve into a god.
Thankfully, Jesus saves not only from forensic guilt but also from false gods. When sinners understand that they are justified by the blood of Christ, this frees them from having to justify themselves through their accomplishments. Sports then become a gift; they no longer bear the pressure of being the way that we prove ourselves to the world. Because of grace, God’s people are motivated not by guilt but by gratitude. Through the gospel, athletes can stop looking to sports to justify themselves and play sports as they were designed to be, as a gift to be enjoyed for their intrinsic good and to be stewarded for the good of others.”
Is competitive sport a good activity for christians to be involved in? Can we compete in a way that stays true to our calling? If we play our games with our identity being secure as a child of God and for His glory, even being outclassed loses its sting. Winning becomes less important than doing our best FOR God with what He has given us. We can take our focus off being better than others (our own glory) and concentrate on giving all we have for His glory. Maybe we could even support our teams the same way… Cheering the skills and achievements of all.