Footy fanatic Chris Halls tells Cross The Line how he crossed the chasm from Football to Faith!
If you would have put these two words in front of me 10 years ago I can tell you hand on heart that they couldn’t have been any further apart. In fact I would have been quiet offended that they had been placed in front of me as at that time I had no idea about God’s love, what Jesus did for us or in fact anything regarding faith and the bible. O how life has changed for the better, but let’s start at the with the past.
I played football in Colchester for a long period of time for numerous clubs at numerous levels, and looking back I played for some very successful teams and won a lot of trophies. I was your typical box to box, nasty, hard tackling central midfielder who was send out by my managers to kick people and be a pain. As was my mind-set at the time I did all of the above and more I had no regard or concerns about the people I was playing against and didn’t care much if I hurt them as long as I did my Job and we won the game that was all that mattered.
I got booked regularly for bad tackles arguing with referees and just being a pain in the backside, my friends used to tell me how I changed into this nasty person when I went onto the pitch. It was almost like the second I crossed the white line nothing else mattered but winning at any cost. The ball was the focus (even though I often missed it in tackles). There were better sides to my game, I got forward and scored goals, created chances and could pass a ball, but why did football mean this much to me, why did it change me from a self-admitted jack the lad into a horrible person. It’s almost like I worshiped the ball and nothing would get in my way of it.
Football consisted of this for years and years until I decided to hang my boots up around 3 years ago. Since then I moved to Frinton, and became involved in the Free Church and have learnt all about the Glory of God, the Grace of Jesus and the amazing Power of the Holy Spirt. I can tell you all about how I found faith but maybe that’s a story for another day? The most important thing is I had found God and he had saved me. Life was good life had a meaning, life was exciting, my faith has gone from strength to strength and I am involved In Church Youth work helping young people find their lives through Christ. What a privilege that it is, what a blessing to do God’s work and use the blessing that he has given me to inspire other people. But the most amazing thing about this is that the Glory is for everyone, it’s not limited for a select few, and I never thought he would have been chosen but here I am writing this article. it for me you and everyone, love it cherish it and share it.
Now at the beginning of this story I told you about my football career, I then went onto tell you about my faith and as I’m sure you would agree the gap between the two is huge. But what happens when these worlds collide? This season I was asked this year to join the FACT Christian football team and play in the Christian League, I was worried about combining two very different sides of my life and worried that it may affect the way I behave, but of course I said yes. Was this a test put before me from God? Yes I truly believe it was, it was to show me how much he has changed me and used me for good. I went along and loved it, the fellowship and the football blend was amazing. Praying before games and playing in a manner which glorifies God and holds him in the highest. I quickly realised that I didn’t worship the ball whilst I was playing anymore, I worshiped Jesus my Lord and saviour and how much more I enjoy playing now to the way I did I can’t even describe. It was amazing.
Something that has resounded in my head since starting to write this has been that if you put God in Football terms and he was the ball, we can have the ball to ourselves and try and keep it but sometimes you need to pass it or share it to create a new opportunity, sometimes you can feel so far away from it but in an instant you are back in play, if you can share it with your team mates its easier and more enjoyable, the ball can go off the pitch but it will always come back, and mostly without the ball the game has no meaning and without God there is nothing.
Football and Faith placed together 10 years later in my life, a blessing from God.