YOUR ULTIMATE CHOICE Articles
Jeff Bianchi"I just kind of put my faith on the back burner."
I grew up going to church with my family every Sunday, but that’s all it was to me – just going to church on Sunday. I had awesome Christian friends who are still some of my closest friends that I’m in contact with to this day.
While I was in high school, I started to understand the Christian message and why Jesus came. For the next few years I thought that I had enough basic knowledge to get by, but I just kind of put my faith on the back burner.
I've now been married to my wife for six and a half years, and I started dating my wife as a senior in high school. One day she basically told me, “Hey, unless you start following the Lord, I don’t think I can date you anymore.” At the time, it was my first year playing professional ball, and I knew that I had to start making my faith my own.
I realized after I started to dig into the Bible that Jesus is after a relationship with me, and it’s not just about going to church on Sunday. God wants a lot more, He wants all of me. When I realized that, I think that’s when I started to understand the Christian faith.
My favorite Bible verse is James 1:2-4. It says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I memorized that verse, it really spoke to me the first time I heard it. I've gone through a lot in this game of baseball. I've had two arm surgeries, shoulder surgery, elbow surgery and a number of back problems, so I've had a lot of time away from the game being hurt. It doesn't matter what I’m going through because I’m focused on Christ.
Baseball will come and go. I could be done with this game tomorrow, but Christ lasts forever and He’s the reason why I’m living and playing this game. He has allowed me to come back from those injuries. From here on out I’m not taking things for granted.
I think it helps me do things the right way because I know my faith is in something greater than the game of baseball. It’s in Christ, and knowing that my faith is in Christ alone helps keep me from doing the things that you might see other people fall into.