NFL Award Winner Talks Faith and Football
By Tom Buehring
The 700 Club
CBN.com- The Minnesota Vikings Jared Allen is among the NFL’s elite defenders. A big game hunter! Chasing down quarterbacks with striking success! “Close to the quarterback as fast as you can. Hit him. Get him on the ground any way you can. I had a coach tell me once that the more you put yourself around the ball, the more plays you can make. So that’s where that pursuit came from.”
(It’s) a pursuit that’s made him a 4-time Pro-Bowl Defensive End. Jared was drafted by Kansas City and spent four years with the Chiefs. He was traded to the Vikings in 2008. Jared has more sacks during his 9-year career than any other current NFL player. Enthusiasm and intensity have become his trademarks. “I play how I play. I was raised to just give it on the football field and play with tenacity.”
Tom Buehring, 700 Club Reporter: “Jared Allen lives his life like a defensive end. Like the player, the person charges ahead with a relentless pursuit, chasing down a faith that’s become his first priority!”
“Why wouldn’t my first goal be, to be a better man of God? Everything I have is because of Him. Everything! He wants people to pursue Him! What I found was the more I pursued Christ, is like the more, you know, He blessed me.”
But early in his career, he struggled with managing sudden NFL achievement and fame. “People always talk about failure and how people can’t handle failure; I think one of the toughest things in the world to handle is success. If you make a mistake in life you got to take the steps to fix that and decide where you want to be. That’s what Kansas City was for me. It taught me how to – how to handle the success.”
After his 2008 trade to Minnesota, he signed the richest NFL contract ever given to a defensive player. Just two years later, he was named among the Vikings 50 Greatest Franchise Players.
Jared grew up going to church. But it was during a team chapel, he was challenged by a message that asked this question: “’If you were arrested for being a Christian today, is there enough evidence to convict you?’ And my answer was, ‘No.’ On an outwardly occasion, the world would not convict me of being a Christian. Even though I knew where my heart was at. And, you know, everybody says, ‘That’s the most important thing.’ It is. But let’s be honest, you know. You got to walk the walk.”
It was footing for his faith, awakening a desire to recommit his life to Christ and demonstrate it.
“How does it apply to your life? Not your buddy’s life, nothing like this. I decided, you know, ‘I’m going to quit cussing.’ (It’s as) Simple as that. In James it talks about how your tongue can be the most evil part of your body because what you say can directly influence other people. So I just started making little changes in my life. My biggest thing that I get from Christ is the peace to close my eyes at night and not to worry about the unknown.”
In a one game a week league, the pressure to perform is demanding, so Jared strives to stay spiritually grounded. “I don’t get a sack every game. (It) Doesn’t mean I want to quit playing football. It makes me want to work harder. If I don’t read my playbook, I’m not successful on the field. My Bible’s my playbook for life. So if I don’t read my Bible, how can I then stand firm? How can I wear the full armor of Christ and stand firm against the world if I don’t know what’s there? When you think you’re so outnumbered, God’s got your back. It’s like, ‘I’m always there with you.’”
Tackling a life of football and family has led Jared Allen to a bigger sense of purpose that extends far beyond the game he plays. “I believe we’re more than that. This is what we do. This isn’t who we are. When I’m dead and gone, I want people to say I was a great husband and a great father. My ultimate goal is when I die, for Him to say, ‘Welcome home, you good and faithful servant.’ That’s how I try to gear my life and focus on Him”
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