Former NFL Wide Receiver Rashied Davis on Faith and Overcoming Fear

In Op-Eds by Biblica Staff

Editor’s Note: We recently had the opportunity to talk with former Chicago Bears wide receiver, Rashied Davis about how the Bible has impacted his life. Rashied shared with us three of his life verses – Bible passages that God has used to challenge, motivate, and encourage him.

“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13, NIV

Philippians 4:13 is a verse that has pushed me since I became a Christian. It might seem like a cliché, because just about every athlete uses it. It’s a verse that every Christian athlete knows.

But for me, it’s more than just a cliché. It has helped me overcome during times when I was struggling with confidence on the football field.

I didn’t play football until I was in college. My football career began at the junior college level. I was eighteen years old, didn’t know anything, was embarrassed about everything… And I was playing with guys who had been playing since they were little kids in Pop Warner. They understood the game, they understood the recruiting process, they had awards…

I had never played. I was five-foot nine, 140 pounds. All I knew how to do was run very fast.

I had a huge fear of failure. That was one of the reasons I didn’t play football until college: I was afraid of looking bad in front of my friends, family, or anyone. When I was younger, I couldn’t even watch people risk embarrassing themselves on TV.

My football helmet helped. It gave me a little anonymity. And the fact that there were 21 other players on the field helped too. I knew people weren’t looking at me until the ball was in my hands.

But still, it was a paralyzing fear at times. I would be shaking on the field as I was lining up, hoping that they wouldn’t throw the ball to me.

This verse came along when I became a Christian in my sophomore year of college. I don’t remember where it came from – if I heard it in a sermon or read it or was taught it… But it became something I could lean on.

Knowing I can do all thing through Christ helped me overcome my fear. This verse reminded me that God’s Holy Spirit is inside us and gives us the courage and the strength to do what we need to do – to step into and through scary things.

God did not give us the spirit of fear. He gave us the spirit of power, love and self-discipline. My prayer is that everyone reading this would take courage. I pray that you will have the faith to take that step forward, out of the boat, and trust that God will be there.

Another verse is from Colossians:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” – Colossians 3:23, NIV

When I started playing football, I was tempted to play for the approval of others instead of playing for God.

There were times when I found myself playing for my coaches. I was trying to impress them. And the thing is, there are just some people you can’t impress. Some people won’t acknowledge you or give you their approval no matter what you do. You just can’t please them.

That verse from Colossians reminds me that God always accepts us. He’s always there. He’s always got our back, no matter what. If you have faith and take courage, He will be with you along the way. And if you remember you’re playing for Him, you’ll be able to overcome the spirit of fear.

After getting over my fear of failure, I became supremely confident in my abilities. Once I had begun to dig into Scripture and really trust God, the natural talent that He had given me began to come out.

There were times when I was with the Chicago Bears that I caught balls and I have no idea how I caught them. I can only attribute it to God.

The only times I had trouble were when I tried to impress someone else and started playing for someone else – someone other than God. I had trouble when I started getting too cocky, and not focusing on why I was really playing and who I was representing when I was out on the field.

My prayer for you today is that you will keep the right perspective. Keep God at the center. I pray you will have the wisdom to keep Him the main thing. I pray that you will work as though working for Him – not caught up working for things or for money or for man. All of those things matter. But God matters more. If you trust Him, He will always take care of you.

The third verse is, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV).

I love the book of Ecclesiastes. It’s one of my favorite books in the Bible. Solomon does a great job of explaining life – that there’s a time for everything. There are seasons for everything.

My life was a struggle at the beginning.

I grew up in South Central L.A., one of nine kids. If you’re not familiar with South Central, it’s one of the roughest areas in Los Angeles. My father was killed when I was eight years old. I’ve seen some of the worst things that anyone could imagine. In that environment, you had to grow up early, quickly. You had to learn how to deal with death. I was taught to be emotionless. It was a survivor mentality. You had to be tough.

My great Aunt raised us. She prayed for us and her prayers were answered – that’s why I’m here today. I didn’t have a relationship with Christ except for just praying out of fear. I never opened a Bible.

But one day, when I was eighteen, I ended up praying to God something along the lines of: “I don’t know where I am. I don’t know where I’m supposed to be. But God, take me where you want me to be.” To this day, I don’t know what spurred that prayer.

When I look back at my life now, I see the way everything lined up in order for me to get to the point where I am now. It amazes me! It couldn’t have been anyone but God. I couldn’t have done it on my own.

When I look back at my life, Ecclesiastes 3:11 stands out to me: God makes everything beautiful in its time. I feel like a rose that grew from the concrete. That’s how I feel about my life. I just thank God. I can’t take credit for it.

I see my story as a triumph of God’s glory. I made mistakes. I did stupid things. But God aligned things. I would have been in a totally different place without God. I could have been anywhere… homeless, a drug addict, a gang member, in prison, dead… Instead, God made my life beautiful.

I pray that that you will trust the process and embrace the process. I pray you will remember that, as Scripture says, God works all things together for the good of those who love him and who are called according to His will. I pray that you will trust the process – no matter what it is, no matter where you are… Trust that the outcome will be all of what God wants it to be. I promise you, it will be worth it.

Will you partner with Biblica today to provide Bibles to people around the world so their lives can be transformed by Christ?

Biblica Staff

Biblica, the International Bible Society, is a worldwide ministry that has been helping people read and understand God’s Word for over 200 years. We are committed to providing the Bible in accurate, contemporary translations and formats so that more people around the world will have the opportunity to be transformed by Jesus Christ. We do this through translation and publishing, by making the Bible accessible, and with innovative Bible engagement programs like Community Bible Experience. To learn more about our ministry and how you can partner with us to share God’s Word with people around the world, go to our ministry page.

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