Society's stand on Sports and Competition

8/15/1975 Pages 502-5033
Do Not Let Yourself Be Ensnared by Fads and Entertainment

16 The apostle Paul, in giving directions to the young overseer Timothy, stated: “Be training yourself with godly devotion as your aim. For bodily training is beneficial for a little; but godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” (1 Tim. 4:7, 8) Thus the apostle Paul recognized that bodily training can be of benefit to the body, but it must be kept in its subordinate place in relation to the primary aim of godly devotion. In moderation, sports can provide wholesome association, entertainment and physical exercise, which is good for both the body and the mind, but overindulgence in such pleasure can rob one of necessary sleep or rest. This would not be wise. We can begin to take sports too seriously and get involved too strenuously. Serious injuries can result. Sports can develop the spirit of competition. The balanced Christian, however, avoids a competitive spirit that leads to taking pride in beating others in games. (Gal. 5:26) Moderation is necessary in order to conserve one’s energy as well as time for the primary things relating to godly devotion. The Bible counsels: “Let your reasonableness become known to all men.” (Phil. 4:5) Jesus warned against letting the “pleasures of this life” choke out the “word of God” that is planted in the heart.—Luke 8:11, 14.

17 Young Christians at school have to be particularly careful that they do not allow sports to become the big thing in their lives. Excessive participation in sports can lead to neglecting Bible study and Kingdom activities. The glamour of being on the team, the excitement of winning games, are subtle snares that can trap the Christian before he knows it. Neglecting oneself spiritually, while at the same time one is being pulled down by bad associations, the spirit of competition and the desire to be popular—all this adds up to a combination that has within it the potency of death. “The law of the wise one is a source of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”—Prov. 13:14.


6/15/1970 Page 356
How Wise Is the Spirit of Competition?

What, then, about playing games? In this case much depends on the spirit that the players show. Are they trying to stir up competition? Or are they simply having a good time playing? Since it is easy to stir up the spirit of competition in games and sports, some may desire to look for ways to play games that eliminate or minimize the element of competition.

Noting the competitive spirit that dominates worldly organized sports, many persons on learning Christian principles have refused to share in them. They no longer want to be infected by the unchristian spirit of competition. This is the desire of natives who recently learned Bible truths on the Pacific island of Ponape. A representative writes: “The group here has dropped the fierce interdistrict pride, which is particularly apparent during . . . interdistrict athletic events.”

It is wise for Christians to examine their attitudes and motives. Have you been infected by the world’s fiercely competitive spirit? Do you call forth or challenge persons? Have you the desire to show that you are better? Be honest with yourself, and do your utmost to heed the Bible encouragement: “Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another.”—Gal. 5:26.


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