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Interview: Super Bowl XXVI champion Tim Johnson on muscular Christianity

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It has been learned that both quarterbacks in Super Bowl XLVIII are Christians. Today spoke with Tim Johnson, a former right defensive tackle for the Washington Redskins, about Christian’s in sports. Tim played for the Redskins in their Super Bowl XXVI win, and is now pastor of Orlando World Outreach Center. When you played football, did your faith give you an edge?

Tim: Absolutely, in regards to playing the game with integrity, and not for my honor, the accountability was higher than just playing for a coach. Because I’m supposed to be a steward over the talent God gave me, [I had] to play at the highest level I [knew how]. The edge was a moral edge more than a physical edge, even though I know and trust that the Lord gave me the strength to do it. How did you reconcile your faith with the extreme physicality of the game?

Tim: In a physical sport like football, the game isn’t set up to be a martyrdom. We’re not trying to kill each other. … Paul talked about running a race to win, but run by the rules. Regardless of the competition, as long as it doesn’t promote an anti-God mindset and attitude, intense competition among men [isn’t] sinful [even though it’s] physically challenging and can even harm you. It’s not for the faint of heart. We’re physically trained to do what we do. … [My] responsibility was to play to win, to use the platform that I had to bring honor to God in the midst of a man-centered sport. … I felt my job was to excel at it, so that the integrity of how I did it, and who I am, supersedes what I did on the field. What I did was the door opening to saying who God’s called us to be, me being that witness, being heard. … A lot of things I learned in football I use now as a pastor. It was a training ground, the teamwork, perseverance, working against conflict, overcoming. So many of the things I learned personally, I live in it now. Do you have any words for the quarterbacks, or any Christian, about following their dream of playing sports?

Tim: Absolutely, seek first the Kingdom because Jesus said unless we abide in Him and He abides in us, I don’t care what we do, it means nothing. So whatever you do you want it to mean something, not just now but for eternal purposes. [Then] work like a dog on developing your skills. God will bless you, but … you’ve got to give Him something to work with. For these young guys, whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. Be faithful with what you have, and be the kind of person that’s willing to do what no one else is willing to do. Work as hard as you can, but then let your witness and character be greater than your talent.



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