Devotional

A Lesson from the Big Game

Ready 

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
-Romans 8:38-39 

Set 

Congratulations to Packers fans! You all certainly have reason to celebrate this morning after the great victory in last night’s Super Bowl. Wear the cheeseheads all day and enjoy the moment!

As I watched the post-game coverage on SportsCenter this morning, I saw tons of highlights from the winning team, but there was one thing in the bottom ticker that caught my attention. It was a comment from Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who said, “I feel like I let the city of Pittsburgh down and the fans and my coaches and my teammates, and it’s not a good feeling.”

Man, I feel for Big Ben. That has to be a tough spot. But, honestly, I can’t think of an athlete or coach who hasn’t experienced this feeling.

Losing is part of sports, and we all go through it at some point or another. There are days when we don’t play well and we feel responsible for our team coming up short. And the same thing happens in life, too. We all make mistakes and the consequences of our actions affect others. When this happens, the burden we feel can seem absolutely oppressive.

When this feeling threatens to take us down a path of sorrow, guilt or dejection, we need to immediately turn to Christ. Yes, our actions may have had consequences, but they don’t have to ruin our lives. In fact, if we turn to the Lord in these moments and invite Him into the restoration process, we can actually experience great spiritual growth and healing.

By turning to Christ in our shortcomings, we find something we won’t get from the world: unconditional love. Even if everyone blames us for a negative outcome—and we agree with them—Christ loves us just the same as if we’d won the game or played perfectly, and He’s waiting to teach us more about this love by reaching us in our pain.

Today, whether you’re feeling like Ben Roethlisberger or like Aaron Rogers (the game’s MVP), know that, in God’s eyes—the ones that see you through the cross of Jesus Christ—you’re loved, valued, forgiven and victorious. Turn your pain and guilt over to Him and let Him remind you of His great love and faithfulness, regardless of the score. 

Go 

1. What’s the worst loss you’ve ever experienced in sports?
2. Have you ever been blamed for a team’s loss? How did that feel?
3. How does Christ see you in those moments?
4. How can understanding His love for you help you endure future pain?
5. How can His love help you extend love to others who fall short on the field or in life?
 

Workout 

Romans 5:8
Romans 8:31-39
Ephesians 2:8-9
Ephesians 3:14-19 

Bible Reference: 
Ephesians 3
Sport 
Ministry