Young people, I believe it’s time for us to take a hard look at what we assume is an acceptable behavior. The behavior I’m referring to is our looking up to and admiring the many and various pro athletes around the world today. After Magic Johnson announced that he had AIDS it seemed to stun not just everyone but even take some of the church by surprise. The reason that it would take most of the world by surprise is because we still view AIDS as a homosexual disease and because Magic Johnson was the player with the big smile, puppy dog eyes and a person that was admired and attracted admirers easily. But we just don’t seem to understand the wicked lifestyle this man led and many others like him. We tape up his poster on our wall, in our lockers and wear a shirt with his face emblazoned on it. We do these things because he is an example and because we find his athletic prowess to be tremendous to say the least. But this same man, this same example, this same person that we look up to and admire is also the same man that goes to bed with many women, a man who lives in sin against the seventh commandment. A man that desecrated the Sabbath day, week in and week out. Yet how many of us don’t hold these types of sports figures in high esteem.
My question now is, are we separating ourselves from all their worldly attitudes? Or are we in some way having their lives and their cavalier attitude toward sin rub off some way on us? Does it always take some of the razor-sharp edge of sinning against our God? Does it in some way cause us to be less spiritually sensitive. In other words, are we adversely affected by them? Before you answer, put off all of the preconceived notions that, oh we just look at those guys as just good athletes, they’re not our personal friends. Put off the fact that everyone has posters and shirts and we think it is harmless. That may be the way I’m thinking is of course very provincial. No, before we do those things let us ask ourselves what do the words in the Bible mean that we are to be set apart. That we are to be in the world but not of it. Doesn’t it really mean that we shouldn’t identify with these people as well as hanging their pictures and wearing shirts with their faces on them? Is this getting too close? That maybe it has an effect on us that we haven’t stopped to think about. Please do that before you just discard the fact you may not agree with me. We all struggle with many of the same temptations and the allurement of athletics. Possibly we have gone too far. Maybe this jolting revelation will cause us to look at the type of examples and role models that many of these men are. Many pro athletes are coming forward and saying they will be next to get AIDS. We need to remind ourselves that as children of God we must look upon athletics, both college and pro, as entertainment but to get any closer than that or to spend too much time with it is wrong. We’re not good stewards of our time obviously if we spend large amounts of time, if it causes our studies to suffer, causes us to stay up too late before going to God’s house. And certainly, the lure on the Sabbath Day is taking its toll. Can you imagine that we watch these men on the Sabbath Day even, and try to justify stealing God’s time. Ephesians 5:15, 16 “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” May we put this to heart.
Let’s take this opportunity to consider that we are God’s children, we who have been saved from the bondage of sin so we are no longer caught in this terrible trap as the world. Where they can only think sinful thoughts, can only do things that are selfish, can only do that which is self-glorifying and think nothing of using Sunday to be entertained with sports. We, who have been given that wonderful liberty from bondage of sin, are no longer tied to sin but that we are free to stop and examine what we are doing and to question are we indeed praising God in that which we are doing. Are we exalting His name? Or have we slowly subconsciously been drawn into the allurement of the world and maybe have made for ourselves examples which are improper? I ask both you as young people and also as parents to consider that we are getting too close to the world and its allurements when we clamor after these athletes. When we would cherish an autograph, a signature mind you! What is in a signature from a pro athlete? What’s in it for us really?
Step back and consider are these men and women who live godlessly. Are they good examples for us? May we pursue the strengthening of God’s church, fleeing from every appearance of evil. After all what would Christ say and do?