My first reflection: God is sovereign. God has a plan and a goal for each team. In simple terms, it's fixed. There is a deep mystery of how God's sovereignty and man's free will work together. Somehow God uses our free will as part of accomplishing his plan. Nothing that occurs in life, not even our sin which he allows, lies outside of God's will and purpose, not even in the sports world. I have seen or read about some fascinating endings of college or professional football games lately. There have been some absolutely astonishing conclusions. How could God not have been providentially involved?
This leads to the second reflection.
My second reflection: Jesus would find great delight and joy in how God works during the game or in the plan God has for a team. He would seek to discover what it is and delight in it.
This is often where we struggle. We get ourselves so emotionally attached to a team and in routing for that team, we miss out on how God is at work in the game, in the team, and in the opposing teams. Quite frankly, we rout for a team so strongly that we don't seek God's will. We don't seek how he is at work. We just want our will and only our will. Just as we pray, "Not my will, but yours be done," so we should treat following our sports. I believe we will find more pleasure and joy in the game if we would be looking to see how God works rather than hooting and hollering for our team.
My third reflection: Jesus would enjoy all the biblical principles one can learn in sports. He would enjoy teams that have good team chemistry (humbly loving one another). He would delight in individuals or teams that persevere despite the obstacles ("To him who overcomes I will give..."). He would cheer on those who honor God with their gifts and skills. He would honor those who submit to their coaches. He would applaud those who "run for the prize" and all the self-discipline that entails. I am sure the list could go on. There are many good things we can learn from sports.
My fourth reflection: Jesus would hate the greed that lies behind college and professional sports "world." The whole system is based on the almighty "$". Some football and basketball coaches in colleges get compensated so much more than any professor, if not president. The upper echelon NFL quarterbacks make more than $1 million/game. Of course, many other players get paid hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, to play their sport. How could Jesus cheer on such greediness? Jesus might admire those who use their millions of dollars generously to meet those in need.
My fifth reflection: I wonder how would Jesus, full of grace and truth, would respond to those athletes who are so hard hearted in their spirits and in their lifestyles against God. He no doubt would love them and honor them as men or women made in the image of God. But could he cheer for them to do well due to his grace? Would he overlook their lifestyles so long as they won the game or the championship? Would he only support those players who are Christians? I would think that he cared little about the person's performance; he would care more about the soul. Thus, whatever was best for a person's soul, that he would seek to accomplish: whether that means a good performance or a bad performance, whether that means injury or being cut. Ultimately, he wants each person to have a living relationship with God. Is that what we want for our favorite players?
My sixth discovery: Jesus would not allow following sports to master him. Jesus loves God fully and completely. His following sports would have to be an outgrowth of his loving God. Just as I can only love my wife correctly through my fully loving God, for God shows me how to love my wife. So too, Jesus would love following sports only out of his complete love for God. By the way, some Christians claimed to the apostle Paul, "Everything is permissible." Paul responded, "Not everything is beneficial" and "but I will not be mastered by anything."
Some of these thoughts not only apply to sports, but to other aspects of life as well. I just applied this to following sports, something in which has too much consumed me. By the way, another question which I do not know if I will blog about or not would be, "How would Jesus play sports?"