Finding God's Winning Spirit

Books •A• Million

April 13, 2015 | Greg Smith | Sports


As I have said on occasion (probably too often) what concerns me most about my Christian clients is their inability to apply God’s Word to daily life. I am always surprised that when life falls apart these Christian men and women go to Books – A – Million instead of the books of the Bible.

I wonder what causes this “disconnect” between the Gospel and application; between the promises of Christ and daily practice?   Perhaps the problem is that many Christians believe that being a Christian is strictly a spiritual thing. Perhaps the average Christian does not know Scripture or lacks theological training. Or perhaps, and the worst option of the three, many Christians just do not believe what they say they believe.  In any case, our inability to translate The Good News of Jesus Christ into daily practice not only limits our ability to live “the abundant life” it hinders our call to move the Kingdom of God forward.

Someone once told me that the inability to connect God’s Word to daily life is like building an electric power plant and never installing a switch thus relegating us to walk around powerless and in the dark. In this analogy applied theology is the switch.

Applied theology to me is not an academic body of material, an examination of data or simply the translation of fact to practice. It is not just about cognitive or intellectual pursuit - it is about living spiritually.  It is not just knowing but rather is about doing. It is not the study of why we do what we do (that would be religious psychology) – it is about becoming who we can be. It is not just about knowledge - it is about faith. It is not about what we can prove - it is about what we believe.

Applied Theology is taking theology and making it work for us daily – it is theory into practice. This is the intent and beauty of Sports Theology®, applying Christian doctrine to sports. I decided to apply theology to sports using the same template as psychology. No one seemed to question the leap of psychology (human science) to sports psychology (applied science).  Here is how theology matched up with psychology when applied to athletics:     

1. Sports Psychology says this about focus:  “The ability to choose the most appropriate stimuli    to focus on, goal-oriented concentration over time.” 


Sports Theology Says:   Focus “…..let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…”   Hebrews 12:11.


2. Sports Psychology says this about stress: “To help performance each players must eliminate competitive stress by taking steps to eliminate the unknown.”


Sports theology says:  Stress Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6


3. Sports Psychology says this about Self-esteem, “Self-esteem is the belief that one can successfully perform a specific task.”


Sports Theology says: Self-esteemI can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”   Philippians 4:13 


4. Sports Psychology says this about Team Cohesion, “Social Cohesion – how well teammates like one another - Task cohesion – how well teammates work together to accomplish a goal.”


 Sports Theology says”   Team Cohesion “…. so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”     Romans 12:5


The bottom line here is theology will always bring more to the table than man can devise. If we are looking for meaning or purpose we should go to the source. It is a deep well – all we need to do is provide the bucket. 

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