By now, it is apparent that Tim Tebow’s faith in Jesus Christ does not guarantee that the Denver Broncos will win every game they play. Many skeptics believe that Tebow should stop following a God that cannot even assure him that he will be victorious in his NFL endeavors.
First, it is a misunderstanding to believe that Christians never have to face loss, tragedy, or heartache. The message of the Bible is not that those who follow God will have an easy life. The biblical record includes many instances of toil and sacrifice in service of the Creator. However, the rewards of that toil and sacrifice far outweigh the cost.
The apostle Paul (a man few could deny served God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27) experienced much trouble during his ministry. Paul writes, "Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” (II Corinthians 11:24-28 ESV)
Nevertheless, the apostle Paul could say with confidence: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18 ESV)
Through the difficult times and the easy times, Jesus promises to be with believers every step of their walk. Jesus himself said that his followers will have difficulties in this life, but we should not worry, He is in control: "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)
Is the point of Christianity merely the attainment of worldly successes? Should people line up at the church doors in hopes of securing financial stability, a successful love life, or a myriad of other selfish pursuits? Wanting to win football games is not a proper motivation for becoming a Christian. That is a selfish motive and in direct conflict with our real need…forgiveness of sin.
Actually, it is doubtful that one could even truly become a Christian simply in order to win football games, be successful, or any other self-centered reason. If one comes to God seeking only to fulfill their own selfish desires, their heart is unable to truly surrender and worship God. Consequently, this selfishness keeps them from the relationship with Jesus that assures them of forgiveness now…and eternal life forever. A person who is motivated purely by selfishness finds humility an incredibly difficult pill to swallow.
In order to become a Christian, one must recognize his/her own sinfulness, his/her own inability to fix oneself, and Jesus Christ’s payment on the cross for his/her sin. Then, only when one humbly trusts that Jesus paid the debt they owe but are unable to pay, will they be forgiven and begin living their lives, as forgiven Christians.
What people really need is to be forgiven for the sin that prevents them from having a right relationship with God. Through all of life’s ups and downs, God is still God and He still loves us. He either causes or permits everything that happens, and He does this for His own reasons…not ours. He also promises that He will be with faithful believers through everything they experience. He will comfort and strengthen His people.
Winning football games does not hold a candle to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.