Is it wrong to participate in competitive sports?

Author: BibleAsk Team

The Christian and Competitive sports

In ancient times, the Greeks, Romans and others played games for entertainment, recreation and competition. Such games or sports are not mentioned in the Bible as carried out by the Isrealites. The kind of physical activity that the Bible speaks of is that which promotes not only physical but also mental and spiritual growth. This activity is physical labor.

In today’s world, the youth acquire mental knowledge through academia and often use their physical energy in competitive sports. Many of the youth indulge in watching and playing sports each day and neglect the time they should spend in studying God’s Word and prayer. Paul counsels us to put God above all other things saying, “For bodily exercise profits for a little while: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

Our priorities should be set right. There is a danger in being obsessed with competitive sports. Some people make it an idol by investing all their energy and resources at the expense of other duties. The Bible warns the youth against this saying, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).

While the simple exercise of playing ball or other sports are not wrong in and of themselves, but these sports should not be overdone. Competitive activity can become over-consuming and take the place of practical and beneficial physical activities. The result of this is that skills, expertise, and fulfillment are not learned to fulfill the simpler activities that attend to basic and essential necessities in life.

Every Christian needs to remember what the Bible teaches us that whatever we do in life should be done for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Whether in sports, recreation or work, the Christian’s first motive should be in living in harmony with the laws of God and promoting His honor. We are to be witnesses for Christ in whatever we do (1 Peter 3:15) and reflect His character to the world (Matthew 5:14-16).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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