Athlete, Identify with God

Identify with God

2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

Benjamin Watson, Super Bowl Champion tight end

Benjamin Watson knows how to play the game of football.

The six-foot-three-inch, 250-pound tight end won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots and had caught nearly 550 passes when the 2019 campaign ended. He was a first-round draft pick by New England but spent a lot of time on the injured-reserve list.

He worked hard to come back and wanted to be an impactful player. Football was his life. The sport dominated his thoughts, and he strived for perfection on the field.

“There were times, especially in my career when my identity was wrapped up in football,” he said. “It’s all I was. I worked out, watched film, studied all the time. Football was my whole life.”

The sport demands a lot of time in order to be successful. Along with professional football comes a lavish lifestyle for some. Many of the players are treated like royalty by the team and adored by fans. All needs are met beyond measure, and the players want for nothing.

“We are supposed to be excellent at what we do, and I wanted to be excellent,” Benjamin said.

But at what expense? Whom did he serve? What was his identity?

“God gives us all different talents, and we should always give our all to those things,” he said. “But I was taking what was going on in my physical journey with football and transferring it over to my spiritual walk, and that is not where we need to be.”

Benjamin realized the Lord called him to do even bigger and better things than professional football, which he does well. He became vocal on social issues and used his platform to glorify God and stand up for what he perceives is right.

In November 2015, he authored a book called “Under Our Skin; Getting Real About Race and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us.”

On January 27, 2017, he was a featured speaker at the National March for Life in Washington D.C. where he spoke to thousands about the sanctity of life and made his voice clear that he is against abortion.

“God gave me this platform,” he said. “And I use it to glorify His name.”

His journey has taken him from football player in the NFL to also serving as an ambassador for the Lord.

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

There is nothing wrong with success in the workplace. Like Benjamin said, we should strive to be the best at what we do. In society, people go to great lengths to get ahead and climb the ladder, and it’s easy to make your job or hobby number one.

But is that who you are?

You don’t live to work. You work to live. Some occupations demand more time, but they don’t have to dominate your identity. Benjamin is a football player by trade. But he is considered a godly man who speaks out and witnesses for his Savior.

Here are some ways to be successful in your job and still have a championship witness:

* Family comes first: This is your No. 1 priority. If your daughter has a recital in the evening and you have a report due to your boss the next day, find time later to prepare. If your son is scheduled to be honored at an event, be there. And if your spouse wants to go out on a date, put the work on hold.

* Tithe faithfully: You are commanded to give a portion of what you earn back to God. “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase” (Proverbs 3: 9 KJV).

* Give of your time: Volunteer at a charity of your choice on a regular basis.

* Support others in times of need: A simple card dropped in the mail or a text to a friend who may have lost a loved one is a sign of support.

Minister in your own way. You are a child of God. Find ways to be identified with the King of kings. Benjamin was a professional athlete. But that is not the only way people think of him. He has established his name as a player of the Lord’s team.

Who are you?

*You can read more devotions like these condensed ones in “First Down Devotions: Inspirations from NFL’s Best” by Del Duduit

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