The Super Bowl and Proverbs 4:23, part 2.

Posted on February 1, 2008 · Posted in Culture, Proverbs, Sports

Above all else, guard your heart,
     for it is the wellspring of
life.

In this
second look at Super Bowl XLII I want to examine morality and spectacle. Solomon’s warning to guard your heart and,
by implication, to teach your children to guard their hearts is one that must
not be neglected. Paul addresses the same theme in Ephesians 6 where he speaks
about spiritual warfare. With regard to our hearts we are never in a neutral zone or a demilitarized zone (DMZ). The enemy is
always lurking. Since Satan is the Deceiver his attacks are seldom obvious.
Cultural spectacle is one way to deceive us. As we noted in the last post,
spectacle tends to move us beyond morality.

It is
perhaps easy to think that an event like the Super Bowl doesn’t have a major
impact on our families. This is precisely why it is important to heed Solomon’s
warning! Your children are growing up in a world where biblical morality is
deemed irrelevant. This is powerfully illustrated by how Tom Brady, quarterback
of the New England Patriots, is portrayed. The media focus is on his passing
skills, his leadership, his strong work ethic, his winning record, his good looks,
his supermodel girlfriend, and his devotion to the infant child he fathered
with his previous girlfriend. I have heard more than one sport commentator say,
he has it all. ESPN.com is currently
running a two part series on Brady. One of the subtitles reads a perfect life … with insecurities.

It is easy to
like Tom Brady. It is easy for your children to think he has a desirable life.
Your sons see someone who is moral and admirable because he is successful on the football field. Your daughters may
think of him as the ultimate catch. This is certainly the way he is viewed
culturally. When you contrast Brady with other celebrities who battle drug use,
who commit suicide, who are publicly profane, who opt for any and all sexual
deviations— he doesn’t seem so bad.

Yet where is
Tom Brady before God? This is where guarding your heart comes in. You must
teach your children to view Brady and others through biblical eyes rather than
the eyes of our culture. Brady is a tragic figure. This is biblical truth.
Instead of praising him, Christians should be praying for him. He is caught in
the center of a media whirlpool. His success is used by others to say that
biblical morality doesn’t matter. This Sunday evening tens of millions of
viewers will hear about his greatness as a quarterback. Sadly, many Christians
will marvel at his performance and accomplishments and feel enriched because
they have seen greatness in action.  This
sort of selfishness is subtle. This is praising things that God warns us
against. Christians should not let their desire for watching good football
crowd out the true nature of reality. If we are willing to be entertained by
Brady’s athletic skills, should we not also be broken by the emptiness of a
life that holds no promise beyond the next completed pass?

To see spectacles
like the Super Bowl for what they truly are takes courage. This game should
fill Christians with compassion for a lost and dying world. The world is willing
to sacrifice the lives of people like Tom Brady so that we can enjoy something
close to perfection. The players on the field Sunday evening risk horrible
physical injury on every play. They are tempted to misuse the huge sums of
money they are paid. Immorality awaits them at every turn. Yet a culture driven
by a lust for spectacle tunes in to be lavishly entertained. How are you
different from your culture? How will you guard your heart against the cultural
assault of the Super Bowl? How will you protect your family?

Why not pray
for Tom Brady and the other players who are being offered up for our culture’s
pleasure? Take this opportunity to show your children the deceitfulness of spiritual
warfare. Prepare them to guard their hearts. Tom Brady looks more attractive than
Snoop Dog—the Bible says he is not.

Spectacle
does not establish morality. Only God’s word can do that. While we enjoy his
God-given abilities, I suggest that we neither praise nor despise Tom Brady as
a person, or those like him. Rather, let’s pray for him. The prayer should be
that God would show him the emptiness of life and then turn him to true life
and meaning in Christ. Let’s pray for him with our children. In this way you
can model a biblical worldview that is able to stand against the morality of
the spectacle.

Shepherd
Press offers books that will help you appropriate this sort of world view. The
issues in Shepherding a Child’s Heart
have powerfully gripped my own thinking in these areas. Trust Solomon, and guard
your heart.

More in the
next post.

Let me know
what you think.

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