football as an idol

Category : barbarian, choice, faith, living a life of faith, taking action

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I love football.  That’s pretty obvious if you’ve spent any time rummaging around R3 or ever glance at my twitter feed.  It’s in pretty much every conversation I have from August to February.  Yet I’ve noticed a problem – I can be obsessed.  I love football so much that a loss by the Steelers can derail my entire week.  I can be in a bad mood just because of one bad play.

And you know what?  I hate it.  I hate that football has that much impact on me.  It’s just a game.  But in my heart I know I often treat it as more than just a game.  Sometimes I tell myself, “don’t get so worked up”  However I can’t escape the fact that if football doesn’t have much of an impact on me, it’s not really worth watching, is it?

So I am caught in this love-hate relationship with the greatest game ever devised.

Here’s the thing though, the closer I get to God, the more I dislike these things in my life.  I don’t want anything to impact my mood except God.  I want him to be the center of who I am, not whether the Steelers win or lose.

Over the last year or two I’ve made great progress with having football as an idol.  I’ve learned to let a lot of frustration go and just enjoy the game for what it is – a game.  But at the same time, in the moment I have yet to fully control that emotion.  Now I don’t believe that God cares if I get excited about football or not.  But I do believe he cares about the way I project my relationship with him.  I can hardly call myself a Christian if I go off on someone because the Steelers lose.  That’s not exactly Christ-like behavior.

To me, football is an idol.  And that’s something I need to wrestle with each week.

Idols are dangerous.  They seep into our lives.  Stealing much of the joy in life with promises of a “better” or more “exciting” life.  Those are lies though because they seem so believable.  But they are lies none the less.  Only God provides true freedom and true  life.  Everything else is just a shallow imitation.

Even football.

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