The ancient people of Israel escaped their Egyptian slave masters for freedom. As they exited Egypt, Moses their leader, often spent time with God, seeking Him for guidance in governing the people. One time, he was alone with God for 40 days. As the time passed, the people began to doubt if Moses would return, so they looked to Aaron, Moses’ brother.  He became their new leader and they sought his help in finding a new god. He led them to craft what became a golden calf and the people said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:4)

The people of Israel replaced the Lord God with a golden calf, because of their impatience. What they once looked to God for, they now sought through their own creation.

The story illustrates the human condition. All of us are like Israel. We constantly are looking to replace God, without realizing it, by instinctively looking to other things to satisfy our needs.

As an example, sometimes sports can become one of those replacements when they evolve from casual interest to obsession. Sports are a multi-billion-dollar worldwide industry that are a deep part of the fabric of our culture. However, they go too far when they consume the family checkbook and calendar, to the neglect of more important things.

When sports push parents to yell at referees or berate their child’s effort, it is too far. When they drive big business to entice young people deceivingly with fame and fortune that leads them down the path of disillusionment and bankruptcy, it is too far. The promises of sports are grandiose, but empty. After a loss, injury or even the next morning following a stunning victory, they offer nothing.

Only true and lasting joy, peace, relationships, purpose, and worth can come from God through Jesus. He came to suffer, die and rise again to show us where real life is found. He is the way.

Every other way is a fake, cheap replacement, no matter if sports or something else.

Today, experience the forgiveness of all you ever have done wrong and discover what you always have been searching for — Jesus.

A prayer for you: Lord God, I pray that you will examine the heart of each reader, showing them if they have a misplaced priority of sports in their life. May they seek you for forgiveness if they do and may Jesus become their consuming passion. Whether their teams win or lose, or their child excels or not, may their eyes always be fixed on you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This information was submitted by Clint Decker, president and evangelist with Great Awakenings, Inc. Since 1990, he has reached more than 2.5 million people with his message of hope. Contact him at cdecker@greatawakenings.org or call toll-free (877) 433-3220.