Believers in the NFL Look to Make Impact by Glorifying God Rather Than Self
Joshua Cooley Gives Glimpse Into Hearts of Six Super Bowl-Winning NFL Players and Champions for Christ in New Book ‘The Biggest Win’
PHILADELPHIA—Today’s professional sports climate offers athletes fame, fortune and all the trappings that worldly success has to offer. But those NFL players who find their true identity as followers of Jesus seek to glorify Him first and foremost.
Author Joshua Cooley highlights the faith stories of just a few of these players in his new book, “The Biggest Win: Pro Football Players Tackle Faith.” Released by New Growth Press this summer, “The Biggest Win” highlights the faith stories of six members of last season’s Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles team: Nick Foles, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos and Trey Burton, who signed with the Chicago Bears this offseason.
“The sports world is a glory factory,” Cooley writes. “Regardless of the sport you play or the level you play it at, glory will eventually be in the mix. Anyone involved in athletics who truly wants to honor God must understand glory within a biblical framework. God’s glory, of course, is something far above anything in the natural world. On a human level, all of us desire glory. Even the youngest child loves the feeling of crossing the finish line first, netting the decisive goal or scoring the winning run.
“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to excel and achieve victory,” Cooley continues. “However, there is a problem. As inherently sinful creatures, we are often unwilling to give glory to God for our achievements. We’d much rather hoard it for ourselves. But assigning any glory to our own credit—even a fraction of it—is blatant rebellion against our Creator. Any Christian who truly wants to glorify God needs to identify this and guard against it.
In “The Biggest Win,” Cooley highlights eight important considerations about the subject of glory:
- We can’t glorify God apart from Christ. We are lost in our sins without God’s grace. In Matthew 11:27, Jesus says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father…” We must repent and trust in the finished, redemptive work of Christ.
- Giving glory to God goes against our sinful nature. Admitting this isn’t admitting defeat—it’s sizing up our opponent. Christians have been “crucified with Christ” and have a received a new nature, but the vestiges of corrupting sin still wage war in the flesh (Romans 7:15–25).
- God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Human pride isn’t just a nuisance to God—it’s an abomination. Proverbs 16:18 famously states, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
- Beware: More fame often equals more temptation. Every human needs to guard against pride, from the preschooler bragging about his T-ball skills to the Major League Baseball superstar flaunting his wealth with garish jewelry and exotic sports cars. Christian pro athletes pray God keeps them humble.
- Human glory is fleeting. The exhilaration of a huge win might be followed by a crushing loss. The cheers, Twitter mentions and Facebook posts will be old news in a week—or less. Don’t build monuments to yourself; they crumble quickly. Seek God’s kingdom, which never ends (Matthew 6:19-21).
- There is heavenly grace and strength for the challenge. As we fight to give all glory to God, we do not struggle alone. God loves displaying his power through human inability. Isaiah 40:29-31 says, “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. … they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
- Mercy and forgiveness are available for the times we fail. We will not always succeed in seeking God’s glory. At times, pride will prevail. But praise the Lord that he is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103:8).
- You can make an impact, regardless. You don’t have to be a great athlete to glorify God. He isn’t concerned with earthly positions and titles. The Bible is bursting with examples of God using unlikely candidates for his glorious purposes.
“The Biggest Win” gives readers a unique look into the lives and faith of the 2017 Super Bowl champions. Through the ups and downs of the game of football, Cooley shows how these high-profile athletes remain committed to God’s Word, genuine Christian discipleship and sharing their faith.
“The Biggest Win” also combines biblical truths with practical direction on issues that every Christian faces, including dealing with adversity, competition, change, success, failure and how to thrive by faith in a pressurized world. Encouraging male and female athletes in any sport, “The Biggest Win” guides them in finding their ultimate identity in Christ, not their athletic achievements.
A percentage of the book sales from “The Biggest Win” will go to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the international sports ministry with a vision to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
Cooley is the co-author with Nick Foles of “Believe It,” which topped best-seller charts nationwide. Cooley is also the author or co-author of “The One Year Devotions with Jesus: 365 Devotions to Help You Know and Love the Savior,” “Heroes of the Bible Devotional: 90 Devotions to Help You Become a Hero of God!” and “The One Year Sports Devotions for Kids.”
New Growth Press (NGP) publishes gospel-centered, Bible-based materials that provide churches, families, and individuals with resources for personal and spiritual growth and change. The growing Christian publisher produces a wide variety of gospel-centered resources for individuals, families and churches. NGP also publishes books, minibooks, small group and Gospel Story for Kids resources that provide churches, families and individuals with gospel-driven publications for all ages.
“The Biggest Win” is available now for preorder at Amazon.com or ChristianBook.com. View the media page for “The Biggest Win” here, or visit joshuacooleyauthor.com/the-biggest-win or the New Growth Press page at newgrowthpress.com/the-biggest-win.