A Christian Athlete by Frank Ferrera

WeightsAndRosary

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Looking over my life, I remember when I was into working out with weights at the gym. I was trying to become a real strong athlete. I made sure I only ate certain foods. I spent many hours in the gym to learn all I could about body building. I read every book I could lay my hands on. One day, I had a conversation with this young man named Mike that I had met at the gym. While in conversation, Mike asked me, “Are you a Christian?”, and I answered back saying, “Yes, I am.” Mike asked me why I believe in this, “Jesus Christ”.  He went on to say, “I have asked many people why they believe, and I always get different answers. Some give me their testimony about how they became saved, but don’t include who Jesus really is. They tell me stories of what Jesus had done while he was here on the earth, but never really say how to ask him into my life.”

Throughout my life, I have gone to church and constantly read my bible, but I was drawing a blank as to how I should respond. Want to know why I didn’t feel ready to answer him? It’s because I feel like I’m in the same boat. So, I told Mike, “I’ll get back to you on that question.” The true fact was that I had no idea how to begin to witness. When I arrived home that night I felt so bad. I was an athlete alright, but not a Christian athlete as the inner man should be. What a shame that I know about gyms and whatnot, but I can’t even begin to witness. I do not even know how to defend the scriptures.

I sat back in my chair to think this over, and while thinking, something came across my mind that made me come to my senses. I am just going along for the ride with others. I am not committed to God at all. Witnessing is not just a job for all pastors, but for all of the believers. I realized that I needed to commit to studying so that I know exactly how to tell others about our Savior. To be an affective witness I have to know the scriptures. First, I have to examine my heart to know the true reason behind why I believe what I do and to see what I’ve been missing all this time. I know I will never be able to preach like Jesus did, but I am going to strive for this.

I closed my eyes for a second and all of a sudden my mind flashed back to Forth Worth, Texas. I remembered that I was invited to a church by a friend of mine. I was in the military at the time, and I went to make him happy. I will never forget when that pastor who was preaching came up to me and said, “We are all tulips, aren’t we?” I didn’t have a clue as to what he meant, so I just smiled and wondered, “Isn’t a tulip a flower?” Then, I remembered that he explained to me what he meant next.

The, “T” stands for: All of us are TOTALLY depraved or affected by sin. The, “U” stands for: UNCONDITIONAL election that God elected us, not on something he sees in us, but according to His will. We did nothing for our salvation. (Eph. 1:4-8) (Rom. 9:11) (Rom. 9:15-21) The, “L” stands for: – LIMITED atonement. Jesus died for those He chose and his sacrifice was sufficient. (Matt. 26:28) (John 10:11, 15) (Matt. 25:32-33) (John 17:9) (Eph. 5:25-27) (Isaiah 53:12). The, “I” stands for: IRRESISTIBLE grace. He has SO much mercy! When the Holy Spirit call’s you, no one can resist its effectual call from within. It is not an external call or a decisional call. (Rom. 9:16) (Phil. 2:12-13) (John 6:28-29) (Acts 13:48) (John 1:12-13) (John 6:37) Lastly, the “P” stands for: PERSEVERANCE of the saints. You are set apart and you cannot lose your salvation because it was GOD who elected you. (John 6:47) (John 10:27-28) (Rom. 8:1) (1 Cor. 10:13)

I opened my eyes to the realization that I had been consumed in all of my pride and was thinking in vain ways. If I was going to speak to Mike, I had to be ready to give him an answer that came from the words of salvation, that could only be given from God’s holy Word. I would have to be an effective witness for Christ. How can I do this? I have to learn firsthand knowledge of Him, knowing Him by His word, which would lead me to walk in His word, show His love, and be a witness by the way I live my life. I needed prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. Then I could explain to Mike that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Only then can I tell him that no one can come to know God unless they draw close to Jesus.

I prayed to the Lord and asked him to forgive my carnal ways and my lack of understanding and for not being familiar enough with His scriptures to present the gospel to others, as well as to be able to defend His Word. I prayed to God and asked Him to open a door for me of opportunities to share the gospel with others who are ready to hear about it. It had been a month since I had talked to Mike so I called him to schedule a time to meet up. I knew it would be spiritual warfare, since I have been like Jonah trying to do my own thing, and now I was going to explain myself to Mike. What will he think about me when tell him that the heart of man is evil (Mark 7-21-23) and sick? (Jer. 17: 9) What will he think when I tell him that man is a slave to sin? (Rom. 6-20) (Rom. 3:10-12) (1 Cor. 2:14) (Eph. 2:15) (Eph. 2:30)

When I met with Mike again, I was completely honest with him. I told him why I couldn’t answer his question and that it’s because I am a Christian who doesn’t ever open my bible either. Mike looked at me and said, “You know, you are the first one who has been both honest and sincere with me.” I gave him one of my bibles. I said back to him, “Mike, we are going to read the Word of God. When we are through, I will then explain it all to you. His Word has convicted me and has renewed my salvation. God’s word has opened my eyes.”

I went on to tell Mike all of this: “The Apostle John speaks about what we witness with our eyes and with what our hands have touched that concern the Word of life. (1 John 1:1-3) You see Mike, when we experience this new life of Christ in us, it’s not because of something WE have done. We only experience this new life because of His mercy, His grace and forgiveness, and His love. We see all of this by the way we now live our lives. Whether it’s you or maybe even me to witness again to others, we should always remember these things. The Apostle Paul in his witnessing speaks of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:1-4) If we do not explain the sacrifice of Jesus, then we aren’t really sharing the gospel. Let us also read 1 Cor. 2:2) and Rom. 10:9-10. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) So you see Mike, it is by his will that we are saved, not by anything that we do.” I looked at Mike’s face when I got done speaking to him, and it was as if he was glued to the words he was both reading and hearing. The power of the Holy Spirit was transforming the both of us, and the light of it was starting to shine through us.

We read in Philippians 2:15, John 15:1-8, and Galatians 5:22-23 how the Lord would set our goals before us, and that we would be blameless sons of God. We will sine as lights in this world so others will see it. We shall remain in Christ.

I said to Mike, “You see, your question convicted me so very hard a month ago that I had to look at myself personally. How could I be dishonest with you knowing that I would be accountable to God? If I told you just any story to try and convince you, I would be lying. It has to be from HIS word.” After saying all of this to him, I had tears in my eyes, but saw that as soon as Mike lifted his head, he was crying as well. Mike then spoke and said, “The most important things that I see are that we must be familiar with His word to accurately present the gospel to others. We must know how to do this and be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us why we have so much hope.” I thought to myself, “YES!”, and said to Mike, “Let’s read 1 Peter 3:15.”

As I was reading this, I was directed by the Holy Spirit to say something else to Mike. I said to him, “Mike, let’s become diligent students of His Word today. Let’s start to memorize His word, and pray to God that He would lead others to us that are ready to be ministered to in this same way. Let our speech be always with grace, mercy, and love. Let our talk with others be seasoned with salt so we can have an answer for everyone who asks us about God and His word. (Colossians 4:6)

We both looked at each other and said, “At the same time, let us ask the Father to lead us to Christ.” Then, Mike and I prayed together. “Praise God!” is what I kept exclaiming in my mind.

I pray that you hear God’s voice today. Amen.