Easter Madness


I have a confession to make. I generally never watch college basketball until March when all the madness starts. It’s the same with baseball. Not interested until September. But I do love the excitement of March Madness. And even though my Florida Gators were eliminated in the first round, I’ll still watch the Final Four and the championship.

This annual event is well-named. Emotional intensity runs high and can swing from euphoria to depression in a matter of seconds. Whether you think it’s fanaticism, distraction, or just plain stupid, the competitive drive is undeniably strong. However, when it comes to athletic competition, from where does this passion to win derive, and why do we so easily get caught up in the frenzy? It seems we’ve been wired by our Creator not only to compete but also to will our favorite teams to victory.

Of course, the evolutionists and atheists tell us that the competitive instinct can be traced back to our early ancestors who competed for resources critical to their survival—food, shelter, mates, and so forth. As a Christian, I cannot buy into the notion that our “competitive instinct” sprang from genetic mutations over millions of years.

Still, I wonder why we humans can be so competitive and why we get so fanaticized over sports. Is it sinful pride? An attempt to prove we’re better than someone else? Is it merely a form of distraction used by Satan to keep people from spiritual concerns? Or is it simply something we do for fun and fellowship? Is there more to it than that?

What if God put the drive to win, to conquer, and to achieve in us because it reflects something true about him? Do we not consider Jesus our great champion who went down into the valley of the shadow of death to defeat our great enemy? When David the shepherd boy from Bethlehem accepted Goliath’s challenge it was a winner-take-all contest. As Israel’s soldiers trembled in their trenches the Lord gave David the win and the madness began. Jews sprang up, routed the Philistines, and celebrated in triumph.

We would do well to consider the competitive spirit one of God’s gifts to us. It reminds us that Jesus, our Captain, has fought and won the battle defeating our greatest foe. In reality, Easter is the believer’s victory celebration. The sad part is that we get more excited about a ball passing through a hoop that we do Jesus overcoming the grave. We could all use a bit more Easter madness; the thrill that our King has conquered, and we share in that victory.

In fact, are we not more than conquerors through him who loved us? (Romans 8:37) Doesn’t the New Testament use competitive athletics to illustrate the need to do our best in the “race that is set before us?” (Hebrews 12:1) Can we not say with the apostle Paul, “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:14) And isn’t comforting to know that “everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

So enjoy the madness this weekend. Cheer your team on and have fun doing so. But remember that ultimate contest Jesus won for all of us on the cross. Celebrate the victory that brought us salvation. Again, we could all use a little more Easter madness.

Is the competitive spirit one of God’s gifts to us or is it simply a sinful distraction?