Giving Gifts Back to God
I was raised in the church and with a solid Christian foundation. I gave my life to the Lord at about 9 or 10 years old. As a little kid, you know good and bad but you really don’t understand sin much. But I came to understand that I couldn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ without having Him in my heart. There’s been a peace in my life since I’ve had that relationship. There’s no greater peace, and I’m thankful I’ve understood it from such a young age.
I’m thankful for a solid foundation of a Christian home, which makes it easier for me. Without that, there are a lot of things I might have given in to, but my parents and my beliefs really shaped who I am and what I represent. I’m so blessed to have two good Christian parents who were great examples and raised me the way they did.
I’ve been on mission trips all over the world, and I have been blessed to experience other cultures and see how others live. The Lord has shown me how blessed I’ve been. I feel like that’s why God has allowed me to play football at Georgia, on one of the biggest stages of my life. A lot of people look up to us as football players, and many know I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. Every day, I have to hold myself to a higher standard. Even when I mess up, I want people to know I’m different; I’m not like every other quarterback, chasing after the women, the drugs, the drinking. Going to a big-time college, I try to tell people all the time that even though I have a relationship with God, that doesn’t make me perfect. I have to ask for forgiveness, too, and I know God forgives me.
The Christian life is definitely a roller-coaster ride. There are days when you have the struggles of everyday life. I’ve been taught to put God first, not just on the weekends but every day. It should be a challenge 24-7 to seek God’s will for our lives.
The struggle is because Satan will want to come after us. We are called to be changed when we have a personal relationship and the Lord comes into our lives. On a day when I get too high on myself or I’m frustrated with myself or my teammates, I tell myself that football comes and goes but eternity is a lifetime. When I focus on that, it brings be back to reality, humbles me and reminds me what to spend my time and energy on: to influence people and honor Him with everything.
I know I have a platform, and God has blessed me with a lot of athletic ability. The talents I have are God’s gifts to me. How I use them is my gift to God. The Lord can take your talents and what He’s given you and if you give them back to Him, He can use them for His glory.
Without football, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk to people and share what God is doing in my life that I have now. It’s humbling, because you’re not an average Joe; people listen when you speak, and you have a powerful message. You’re a role model for a lot of young kids. The way you act on and off the field can influence people. That’s quite powerful. When you take the time to honor God, it’s awesome how He can use that.
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