Deverin had decided to play basketball for the glory of God, but now he found he couldn’t play at all.
Christian athletes often struggle to combine their faith with their sports. Deverin, a lean, 6’9” basketball player is no exception. When the opportunity arose to put basketball and his new faith together by going on a tour with Athletes in Action, Deverin wasn’t sure he wanted to, but a persistent AIA staff member convinced this former atheist, now a new Christian, to apply.
“I had not counted on God capturing my heart during training camp and changing me.”
During training, Deverin learned The Principles, AIA’s curriculum giving athletes a biblical framework in which participation in sport is an opportunity to worship God. Each of the five principles focuses on a story from the Bible and applies it to sport and competition.
As he competed, Deverin experienced the power of Principle #1: Audience of One, which emphasizes how to worship God while participating in your sport. He learned that God alone is worthy of worship, especially on the ball court where his performance becomes a thank you gift to God.
Determined to be a witness to his teammates on his campus when he returned from the AIA tour, Deverin began to apply The Principles. Then, unexpectedly, he injured his shoulder, a devastating blow for any athlete. But God did something totally unexpected. Rather than use Deverin’s stellar performance on the court, God used his injury and inability to compete to reach Deverin’s teammates.
As Deverin recovered, Principle #4: Hurtin’ for Certain took center court. This principle focuses on God’s purposes for our trials. Because Deverin trusted in God‘s sovereignty, the door was wide open for him to share his faith with his teammates. Then things started to change on his campus. First, his teammates started to attend campus Bible studies, then other athletes from other sports teams, until the group went from 20 to over 200 athletes by the end of the semester.
In Deverin’s own words, “The trip with AIA made me realize what living your faith looks like…It taught me to be humble and surrender myself to God.”
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