How does my personal relationship with Jesus Christ affect my athletics? It makes a huge difference knowing that God loves you unconditionally. Even if you win or lose, He loves you!
The biggest thing that happened in my sport for me was to realize that my identity is not in tennis anymore. Whether I win or lose, my identity is in Him. I now play for an audience of One, with great joy and peace in His love. I play in His Holy Spirit. That was the biggest change for my athletic career because I no longer had the pressure to win — the pressure of feeling like I had to win in order for people to like me. Now, I play with peace, I play with freedom, I play with joy.
Not that I’ve already obtained all of this, but God has started me on a journey to play for an audience of One. He has started me on a journey to play with Him as my Mentor, my Leader, my Trainer, my Advisor, and of course, my Father. He changes the way I train; He changes the way I play. He changes the way I treat my opponents, my trainers, the umpires, the tournament directors, the facilities, and the environment around me.
Like I said, I will never be perfect, until I get to Heaven one day. But God has started me on a journey to become more like Him. I am truly grateful for the work He has done in my life and the different aspects of my life that my faith has impacted.
— Casper Steenkamp, South African tennis player