Former NFL MVP Shaun Alexander speaks during a convocation ceremony at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, on Sept. 2, 2022. | Youtube/Liberty University
Former NFL MVP Shaun Alexander recently urged students at Liberty University not to “cater to the world” because they have been “marked” by God and that there is a “standard” that Christians should uphold.
The former Seattle Seahawks running back gave a convocation speech earlier this month at the Lynchburg, Virginia-based Evangelical institution founded by Pastor Jerry Falwell Sr. He is among many former professional athletes who have given speeches at Liberty in recent years.
The three-time Pro-Bowl selection began by sharing his journey from being the top high school football prospect in the country to setting records at the University of Alabama and winning the NFL’s most valuable player award in 2005.
After a decade of retirement, Alexander said all the awards and trophies he’s won throughout his football career are meaningless compared to the surpassing joy of following Jesus as Lord and Savior.
The 45-year-old father of 12 children, who said he is also a “Liberty dad,” told students that they too are marked by their identity in Christ.
“One thing that is very similar with all of His children, part of the blood covenant that He made with us, is He began to write His laws on your mind and on your heart. You’ll begin to know that you’re His,” he said. “He set your identity. … He’s whispering to you: ‘You’re mine. … We don’t do that. This is where we go.'”
Saying that Christians are called to stand out from the world and not capitulate to the pressures of society, Alexander encouraged college students to resist the pressures of the world to engage in sinful behavior typical for their age group. For those who feel an inner discomfort with engaging in immoral behaviors, Alexander believes God has “marked” them.
“You’re His. This is your identity. … Don’t try to make yourself look like the world,” Alexander said.
“God is speaking to His children. He uses the Holy Spirit, and He uses other people to always whisper: ‘Here’s My laws. Here’s how we do it.'”
Alexander said there is a godly expectation that Christians must meet by surrounding themselves with true friends who will correct their behavior and reveal the truth of the Gospel while encouraging those they correct.
“Who do you roll with? There’s a standard that God’s children have. Our posse carries a standard. When you look around, are the people closest to you stirring you up to be godly? Or is it just kind of like at a Christian school we can kind of behave and do some good behavior modification — some of us dudes [are playing] a Christian game?” Alexander asked.
“What kind of friends do we really have? What’s the standard that God has set for us? Do we stir one another up to really love people, to get to know them and say, ‘I love you enough not to let you keep any of that dirt that’s on your face,’ but I also love you enough to kind of inspire you to say, … ‘Let’s go for it.'”
The football star said that Christians should try to avoid willful sinning, suggesting that they aren’t leading a genuine Christian lifestyle if they aren’t doing their best to live for God.
“Where do we really want to go? How do we want this story to end? How are we going? Well, here’s what the Father tells us: If we can live a life deliberately sinning, then Jesus wasn’t there for us,'” Alexander said.
“So let’s be real. … If you come out to our house, we got a nice little farm and people come and pools and all that. And it’s really cool. It’s a lot of good times. But if I don’t know you, you don’t get in. If you don’t know my kids — I got a kid clause. Isn’t it awesome how God does that too with us? He got a kid clause. His name is Jesus, right? You don’t know Jesus, you aren’t getting in. Where are we going? What direction are we going?”
For people who can “love sin,” deliberately sin, and at the same time know “this is not what God wants,” Alexander warns “there’s nothing else.”
“You can’t earn Jesus, and you can’t earn Heaven. A father gives you the identity that you have. You are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Our God sets the standard for who you are and how to go live it out. And our God points you in the right direction. Let’s stir one another up for God’s good works.”
Alexander told the crowd that he seeks to “awaken” their “God-given identity” and “God-given assignment.”
“Some of those assignments could be simply: ‘Can I be a godly friend while I’m on this campus? Some of your assignments are: ‘Can I build myself to be ready to go change the world? Can I be a champion for Christ?'” Alexander said.
“All the trophies, all the awards [I’ve won] are all tarnish[ed]. I’m still getting awards. … But the souls that God uses me to win for His kingdom go generations. Have you accepted the assignment? Have you accepted your true identity? I pray you have.”
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