Jeremy Lin is making headlines again, and not in a good way. The New York Knicks’ point guard was recently seen with teammates at two late-night Manhattan clubs. The New York Post quotes an unnamed “onlooker”: “They were really drowning their sorrows” after the team lost in the first round of the playoffs. “Jeremy was drinking and acting tipsy . . . like a college frat kid.” Of course, we have no way to know if the unnamed “onlooker” was telling the truth. One supporter suggested that Lin could have been acting as a Christian while in the clubs with his teammates.
Another Christian athlete making headlines today is Tim Tebow, as a New York Jets teammate compliments his leadership skills and passion. Meanwhile, The New York Times has visited the Philippine orphanage his father founded in 1992. They note that most Filipinos, obsessed with basketball rather than football, do not follow Tebow’s career. One who has said, “we know that people are mocking him for his faith.”
And worse. Tebow was asked three years ago if he was a virgin; he said that he was. Now a controversial website that helps married people have affairs is offering $1 million to any woman who can prove she has been sexually involved with him.
Has it ever been harder to serve Jesus in public than it is today? Why is this?
A culture that is increasingly post-Christian and even anti-Christian is looking for any opportunity to justify immorality by claiming that we are no different than non-believers. As a result, skeptics will seize on any mistake we make or even tempt us to make them. Unfortunately, a lifetime of character can be tainted by a single moral failure. The more visible our faith, the more visible our fall.
So God encourages us to “be self-controlled and alert.” Why? Because “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). What should we do when he attacks? “Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (v. 9). How? “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Note the order: when we submit our temptation and trial to God, he will enable us to resist our enemy and win the victory.
These principles should guide us every moment of every day. Earlier this year, Lin described plans to use his platform as a basketball star: “For God, for God’s glory, and I think that’s shown in a lot of different ways. It simply could be the way I live my life, what I talk about in my interviews, what I talk about through the social media. It could be what I do in my spare time.”
Whether he kept this commitment without fail or not, Lin has the right idea. In everything you face today, ask: “How can I glorify God?”