Football and Idolatry … and Not

by GfG on February 6, 2012 · 14 comments

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Yesterday was the Super Bowl.  You may or may not have participated in something related to it.  

Here’s the thing: if you didn’t, it doesn’t make you more spiritual or holy.  I used to run in a circle where it did.  Definitely did.  It was not just unspoken, it was spoken.  Football was idolatry no matter how much or little you participated.  No matter where your heart stood.  No matter.

Since being confronted with legalism in a stunning way, I have stepped back and allowed God to show me some issues in a new light.  He is helping me remember that He has shown me grace in salvation and now I am to walk in grace.  That means sharing grace.  Even with football fans.

I no longer believe that watching football, cheering for a team, or choosing to spend time in these activities is idolatry.

I do believe that most Americans have taken the enjoyment of this hobby and recreation too far.  They have made it an idol in their life.  Americans have done it with many sports.  A wonderful little (it’s short, but terrific) article shows what we can learn from football fanatics/idolaters as well as helps keep enjoyment in place, far from idolatry.  {Learning Worship from Idolaters: Football Fanatics by Dave at Armchair Theology}

One of my favorite Bible teachers, Randy Alcorn, also wrote a wonderful blog post this weekend on why enjoying sports, recreation, a special meal, games, books, and such is not wrong, but a God given trait for mankind.  {Creator and Culture, and Anticipating a Redeemed Earth by Randy Alcorn}

If you enjoy these different activities, I challenge you to ask God to search your heart to be sure they are in correct perspective and place.  Be willing to cut down on the time, if need be, to tame your heart and keep love of the LORD and relationships first.

If you refuse to see that enjoying these activities can be godly, I challenge you to ask God to search your heart for pride and a displaced view of earthen gifts.  Be willing to humble yourself to the LORD and keep love of the LORD and relationships filled with grace.

I could not have told you who was playing in the Super Bowl before it started because I could not care less about football, but we enjoyed some fun food and time as a family.  My Sweetie really likes football but has a very healthy view of it.  He keeps his priorities in a godly balance.  I’m so grateful for him and his influence on our children. He’s a terrific dad.  Who watched the Super Bowl last night.

How do you view sports in relation to godliness?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Blair @ The Straightened Path February 6, 2012 at 6:55 am

I read something this morning that said when we get to thinking about how great we are doing by keeping a law then we are bound to be tormented (eventually) by all the laws we are unable to keep. Grace is gorgeous, isn’t it?!


GfG February 6, 2012 at 7:48 am

Nice point.

Reminds me of what I read that says we will fluctuate between pride and despair.

Grace is gorgeous, yes!


Heather February 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

So what (go Frogs) are you (go Frogs) saying? (go Frogs). LOL! I have to tell you that our Dish was fried last Fri. night during a lightening strike in our yard so we started catching up on Psych on our Netflix instead of watching the superbowl (Psych is a family affair in our home, J LOVES Gus!). However, the night it went out, I was out of town and when T told me he was watching “Quigley Down Under” (his absolute fave movie that he has watched at least 200 times) I told him that was NOT the way to show J we could live without Dish! That movie would push even me to want every channel known to man just so I wouldn’t have to watch it AGAIN, ha! But we will be continuing with Psych tonight. However, I’m pretty sure I will have at least some basic channels come September…go frogs 😉


Brooke February 6, 2012 at 8:17 am

We didn’t watch, I personally don’t care about football. If the Cowboys had been playing, I am sure we would have had the TV on for Troy. However, March Madness – college basketball- is coming up which means our TV will be tuned to it all the time.


Britta February 6, 2012 at 10:13 am

We love Psych too, Heather! But we did watch the football game with mild interest. My hubby is an avid (rabid?) fan of the New Orleans Saints – back from the days when the fans had to wear bags on their heads. I agree with you GFG, sports can take too much precedence these days – sometimes people worship the creation rather than the Creator (Rom 1:25). It can be fun if we keep it in perspective.


GfG February 6, 2012 at 10:17 am

Paul and I love Psych! Heather knows that already. We quote it often. Gus is my fave, but the kids like Sean best. We don’t let them watch every episode. We preview and some they get to watch and some they don’t (the olders, not the littles).

I mostly worked on my blog while My Sweetie and The Boy watched the game. They lost everyone else after the snacks were gone. 😉

Perspective and grace. Yup.


Thyme February 6, 2012 at 10:48 am

Usually we go to my in-laws for super bowl. No one except my father in law really watches the game, it’s on in the background. My husband and I were laughing last night about how we had no idea when super bowl was, that it was yesterday or even who was playing. At least not until about 11pm last night when my Facebook started telling me everyone’s thoughts on the game! 🙂


AnnetteQ February 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm

What gets my goat is not the TV sports b/c we don”t watch TV much, but the kids athletic teams that schedule practices three nights a week and have games on Sundays. We have not become involved with some of the local sports because of the irrational demand on family time and the Sabbath. What message does playing team sports send when families are careening all over the place to make sports events, but never sacrifice a game for the sake of worship?

…I’ll get off my soapbox now.


GfG February 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I agree. It’s the reason our family isn’t involved in sports (the time commitment required and mandatory Sundays). You know about Eric Liddell, right? We’re a big fan. 🙂


Cindi February 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

please don’t get off of your soap box. it’s imperative that parents like yourself stay vocal about this issue. not just for the families who observe the Sabbath, but also for those who need an example of families who don’t have to twist their lifestyle to fit into the demanding schedules of coaches.


Renee February 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm

1Tim 4:8~

We believe sports can have a healthy place of the life of Believers. We have seen physical benefits and character growth from them. However, in light of eternity and the work of Christ their benefits pale.


We enjoy watching football together, but we are fans and not fanatics.


GfG February 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Your sweet family is one that was brought to mind as I rethought this issue. I know you have a heart for Jesus and wouldn’t have idolatry in your home.


Shiree February 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Enlightening. Thanks. I was just thinking this weekend how much I HATE the Super Bowl. I was so glad it wasn’t on at all in our home. But I am definitely judging. Time to repent.


GfG February 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Though we watch the Super Bowl, we hold the remote ready for changing during commercials. It makes watching sports a task, but we feel it’s the best way to do it.

I wouldn’t miss sports if they weren’t in our home anymore.

Shiree- The great thing about repenting is how pleasing it is to the LORD. in Him, m


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