In sport, like nowhere else, we are more likely to see unparalleled outpourings of joy! For every slumped player who has given everything and fallen just short, there will be sports men and women jumping around, on their knees in tears, or flat on their face simply unable to handle the overwhelming feeling of the success they have just achieved. What is evident, is these emotions are more than just happiness. I myself succumbed to this same feeling after winning a particularly challenging match point situation against a tricky year six child at table tennis club this week! I roared with victory as I dropped to my knees (which was perhaps a slight over-reaction, but the joy was real!) Joy and sport are synonymous, and one cannot exist without the other – could sport survive if there was no end product of that rush of joy? (Joy could probably survive without sport, but there would be less of it in the world!)
This week I was party to a conversation with two NQT’s at a staff end of year drinks, where they began to discuss matters of spirituality and the after life. Neither were of any faith, and I decided to bide my time and listen before weighing in. I eventually shared with them some thoughts on faith, essentially that Jesus said that the way to Heaven was through Him. But perhaps more poignant than my bumbling attempts to present the Gospel within 5 minutes was the fact that the Vicar associated to the school was also sitting with us, and what he shared was particularly important.
His take was that rather than evangelising with words of why anyone should be a Christian, it should be demonstrated in the most attractive way, that people would want to come to Christ because it is a better proposition than the situation they are currently in – essentially, a joyful Christian will make following Jesus attractive to those who don’t (yet).
In John 15:9, Jesus says:““As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Jesus promised His followers that by loving others that they may experience a fullness of joy.
Sport can bring joy, and it certainly does; but Jesus promised a fullness of joy in following Him that would make any sporting comparison pale into insignificance. For every sportsperson on their knees in tears at their victory, there are thousands of Christian’s on their knees in tears daily in the knowledge that Jesus loves them and they are forgiven.
Sporting joy is great; Joy in Jesus is full.