One of my favorite movies is Chariots of Fire, the 1981 Oscar-winning film about track athletes competing in the 1924 Olympics. One of the runners, Eric Liddell, struggled to reconcile his Christian beliefs with competing. He tried to explain to his sister why he ran: “I believe God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
That’s exactly how I feel. I play to honor and please Him. Any success I have is because of Him. That’s why I was so happy to pronounce my faith on national television after the Minneapolis Miracle. It was true then just as much that day as it was the day I tore my ACL. It may not have been the only thing on my mind as I lay on the turf at the Rose Bowl, or the only thought I had when I ran around like a crazy person at U.S. Bank Stadium. But it was in my heart and it came out during the interview. As one of my good friends Jon Randles, a pastor from West Texas, used to say, “You is what you is, and you ooze what you ooze. When you’re squeezed, what’s inside of you is going to come out.” When pressure is applied, when it comes down to crunch time, the real you is going to come out. What’s the real you?
That’s why I wrote this book. I hope others will see that the reason I’ve been able to do some things on the football field is because I gave my life to Christ. In turn, Christ lives in me. It’s a simple formula that has guided me my whole life. I don’t want you to think that this is my secret formula for success as a football player. Being a Christian isn’t easy. And life as a Christian is not always going to lead to a life of winning and worldly success.
Please don’t think I’m saying if you have Christ in your corner, you will make it wherever you are trying to go. I’m saying if you give your life to Christ, your definition for success will change. Christ’s view is quite different than the world’s in a lot of respects: “How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it” (Matt. 7:14). “Note this: Some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last” (Luke 13:30).
In my opinion, living a life with and for Christ is far better than anything else I could imagine. That’s why the best moment of my life might not be what you think. It wasn’t the miracle pass that beat the Saints on January 14, 2018. It’s not any of the passes I’m going to throw the rest of my career. The most miraculous thing in my life is the gospel living itself out in me every day.
I realize everyone may not get a chance to throw game-winning touchdown passes in the NFL playoffs or run onto the field with fireworks and fighter jets overhead. But there is something more out there. Something greater. If there is one thing in this book I want you to understand, if there’s one thing I want you to take away, it’s this: God’s love is available to anyone.
You might be saying to yourself, “Well, if you only knew the real me, how messed up I am, and . . .” You don’t have to clean up your life first! God wants to meet you right where you are. It doesn’t matter how far you feel you are from God right now. He wants you. Just the way you are. Just like His power is infinite, so are His love and mercy.
I’m sure thankful His mercy and grace are boundless because I keep seeming to find new ways to screw up. But God doesn’t have failure in mind for us. God wants everyone to succeed. I think that I would be just as happy in any other profession with Christ in my life. If that was the plan for me, then I am confident I would find joy in it.