I was out after church with a bunch of sports freaks. You know the type: loud, rowdy, teasing each other about the jerseys that they were wearing. I got to talking to another person that was there that, much like myself, was not really into sports. We made an interesting connection between evil and football! That is right. We came to the conclusion that football is fleshy and should be destroyed!
We take our text today from the book of Galatians, chapter 5 verses 16-21:
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul is writing this to a group of people that were overly consumed with their actions, trying to win salvation for good works. Here, Paul is telling us that we should not live by our fleshy desires, for that sets itself against the flesh. Let’s examine the basic conduct of football fans against this list in scriptures, shall we?
Immorality – This refers to general debauchery of the society. I have to say that this one is not very common, there is too much focus on idolatry. Besides that, 3 pages of a Google search did not yield any relevant to the search term. I guess they are off the hook for this one.
Impurity – This would mean anything that taints perfection. Football fans are becoming increasingly violent and profane in the cheering of their teams. This passes the vulgarity down to next generations as kids are brought in droves to stadiums around the country. It may even start with sharing drinks with kids at a ripe young age which will clearly send them to hell.
Sensuality – This root of this means to gratify the senses, or in biblical terms, to fulfill fleshy desires. How many justifications occur for football, beer, overspending, etc all in the name of doing what feels good!
Idolatry – Football is synonymous with idolatry. This is the biggest fruit of the flesh that that there is in the sport, but it exists to undying ends. Take some mild and lukewarm Christians who are in a Bible study, they know very little about the Bible, where things can be found, etc. But if you bring up the topic of football, the crowd will go wild! People will start praising and worshiping at the image of the team, rattle off statistics, and arguing with one another about their god being better than everyone else’s god.
Sorcery – This is to practice divinity, witchcraft, and the other Harry-Potteresk Hogwarts classes. We agreed in our conversation that if this indeed happen related to football, it is definitely not in the mainstream, so we are OK here.
Enmities, Strife – This means to have something against someone or something to a point of hatred, diabolical plans enter in and overtake your emotions to the point where you have a single mind to hate. Enmities is also what is described by what happens when one group of college kids meets a group from the opposing team.
Jealousy – This is to have feelings of depressive anger toward someone for spending time with someone else, it can also stem from an intense desire to have what someone else has (like a victory). You can see the presence of this.
Outbursts of Anger, Disputes, Dissensions, Factions – I group these together because they are all closely related. Disputes and anger go hand in hand, dissensions and factions occur from the point of anger, and the people break into roaming hate-mobs (OK, so I am exaggerating this point a little too much, but the point remains, sports fans can be very violent and rowdy).
Drunkenness – Do we even have to talk about this one? I think that beer was invented for football, or at least the other way around.
Carousing – This is teasing / taunting / being generally uncontrollable. We see this in sports fans all the time.
So there we have it, the majority of the fruits of the flesh are all bound up in football!
OK, so that article was a little accusative, and yes, it was satirical. The truth is, football is like anything else that is neutral in this world. We can make it good and we can make it bad. Paul says several times in 1 Corinthians that all things are permissible, but he would not be mastered by anything. That is the truth. Watch football during this season, enjoy yourself, but remember to be more focused on God than you are on your hobbies. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7-8a).