My Pastor has made it a common practice of his when meeting young people to ask them one simple question: “What is your purpose in life?” It’s a simple question with a lot of depth to it. Most of the time it is met with an uncomfortable chuckle and followed by an answer some where along the lines of either “I don’t know” or “to have fun and be happy”. Many times in sports we see things like winning, playing time, recognition, and stats as the means to achieving the fun and happiness that we desire. However, what happens when things like bad calls by referees, poor decisions by teammates, or coaching decisions get in the way of our pursuit? We experience things like anger, frustration, and disappointment…all of which couldn’t be further from where we want to be and how we want to feel. This causes us to make statements like “This is stupid” or ask questions like “What’s the point?” which happens to be a good question…a question that God has been waiting for you to ask, so He can provide you an answer.
The Christians Peter was writing to had to of asked the same question. They had been spread out into several different regions because of the suffering they were experiencing under the governing rule of their time for what they believed. Talk about messed up…they were doing a right thing in living for God because their lives had been changed by the grace that has been offered through Jesus dying on the cross for their sin and they still didn’t get fun or happiness. What’s up with that? What’s the point? God says this through Peter in chapter 1:6-7:
“You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith – more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
These Christians knew that they were promised heaven once this temporary life was done…a standing with God they did not deserve. As a result, their faith in Jesus was of more value to them than anything they could think of…even gold. As a result, they desired to see Jesus praised…even if it meant they should honor the very ones that were causing suffering in their lives (2:17). Why?
“For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.” (2:21)
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness;” (2:24)
There are going to be a lot of things in our lives that are fun and make us happy. Those things are blessings from God but they are not the point of life. The point of life is that God would be glorified as we no longer live for things that are wrong and we life for everything that is right in the middle of every circumstance God puts in our path including: bad calls by referees, poor decisions by teammates, or coaching decisions we don’t agree with. I will close with this bit of truth:
“Dear friends, when the fiery ordeal arises among you to test you, don’t be surprised by it, as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.” – 1 Peter 4:13
- What would be of similar value to us in sports today that gold was to the Christians being written to in 1 Peter?
- How have you seen tough situations in sports work out for God’s Glory?
- Why would Christians see it as an honor to try to live for God in the middle of situations that aren’t fun or don’t feel good?
- What kind of impact do you think God could use you to have if you chose to honor Him when things aren’t seemingly going your way?