What Football Can Teach Us About Battling Sin

The Christian life is a life filled with many battles and the battle against sin is always with us. It’s a long warfare.

Every time you say “Yes” to a sin, you increase its power in your life and you make the next temptation harder.  It takes a stronger position. You increase its influence every time you indulge it, every time you cherish it.  And every time you say “No” to a sin, you weaken its power in your life.  John Owen says in The Mortification of Sin

“The power of sin is weakened and abolished little by little.”

Knowing that, you should seek to win some battles in your war against the flesh. The key words are “some battles.”  Notice, I don’t say, “win the battle.”  This is not a battle that you fight once and then it is over.

Think about football—the game hinges on field position.  There will be times when you’re on offense and you’re moving the ball forward, and there are also times when you’re on defense and you’re trying to keep the other team from moving the ball.  The game can be won or lost at either end of the field.  Every time you say, “No” to sin, you move the ball forward; every time you say, “Yes,” sin moves the ball forward.

Three things football can teach us about the battles of the Christian life:

1. Even when you’re gaining yards in a drive, you can never rest.  When you think you’re doing really well, sin can snatch the ball and be down to the end zone before you know it.

2. The time when you have put points on the board is the time when you most need to be on your defense.  When you’ve been exerting yourself in serving or you’ve led someone to Christ, your ministry is moving forward.  Know that sin will be coming back at you.

3. When sin has broken through your defense and scored a touchdown, you don’t leave the field of play.  It’s time for you to begin a new drive against sin in your life.  Move the ball forward.

Look sin in the face and take it on.  John Owen says…

“Sin will not die except by being gradually and constantly weakened: Spare it and it heals its wounds, and recovers its strength.”

Seek to move the ball forward in your own battle against sin. Don’t get discouraged when you lose a few yards, get back up and keep fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Ask God to strengthen you by the Holy Spirit in your fight against sin.


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