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Demario Davis

Demario Davis is a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, first drafted by the New York Jets in 2013. “I was a guy headed in the wrong direction fast and God radically changed me. I get to play this wonderful game of football and I’m blessed to do it but my life is so much more than that in God. That’s what I really want people to know about me.”

What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?

Faith is everything; it’s not a part of your life…it is your life. What you believe in is at the core of who you are. I believe God to be my everything—He’s the way I start my day and the way I end my day. When I die, I don’t really care what people say about me, all I want to hear is my Father say, “Well done.” That’s at the core of who I am; that dictates how I live my life.

Describe how your Journey with Christ began.

I grew up in Mississippi—the Bible belt. My grandma, a Christ-follower, raised me up going to church seven days a week. When I started playing sports, I found that I was really good at it even from an early age but it started to go to my head. My cockiness started getting to me off the field as well; I started hanging with the wrong crowd and doing the wrong things. When by the grace of God I got a college football scholarship and began attending Arkansas State, I met Football Chaplain Chuck McElroy. When I started going to the chapels I was finding myself hearing the truth about the Bible again. I always knew right from wrong but I wasn’t choosing the right things. During my sophomore year Chuck started inviting me to hang out with him more; he started asking me questions about the Christian life. No one had ever sat me down and asked me these things before, I had never thought about these truths specifically. I tried to avoid him at first but one thing he said really challenged me—he asked where sin comes from. He opened the Bible and showed me the fruits of the Spirit and the fruits of the flesh. I realized that I had way more fruits of the flesh: anger, greed, sexual immorality, selfishness, envy, jealous… I started really wrestling with these truths in my heart. I argued that I had a good heart and was a good person, I was just doing a bunch of bad things. But God’s Word says that a good tree can’t bear bad fruit and a bad tree can’t bear good fruit. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” -John 15:1-4 Chuck gave me encouragement and told me that God is able to take out my heart of stone and give me a new heart. (Ezekiel 36:26 says. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”) That truth rocked me. That night I went home and I prayed to God for a new heart. I thought everything would change right away then and It didn’t, I got angry about that! That January I went to a campus outreach conference and that was the first time that I heard praise and worship music. I didn’t understand it at first, but after a few days the words on the screen penetrated my heart and it all started to make sense to me. From truths like, “Jesus Paid It All,” and “I’m washed white as snow,” I realized that I couldn’t do this on my own but through the blood of Jesus I was set free from sin. I finally felt free—I felt like I was able to let go and let God. By letting God, He showed me this Jesus who I hadn’t known before and that’s when I really gave my life to God. I felt like a caterpillar that became a butterfly. After that I wanted to share this new life with all my friends and family to show them that what happened to me could happen to them. I wanted to break the myth that it’s not based on what you do that gets you to God but it’s what God has done for you that sets you free. Soon my mom, my cousins, and my friends came to Christ as well. God has been growing me and fueling my desire to live for Him ever since.

Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?

Arkansas State Football Chaplain Chuck McElroy was a huge mentor for me in my faith journey. NY Jets’ Chaplains Adam Burt and Shino Prater are also highly influential for me. Also, I have a great community of brothers to walk alongside such as Greg McCall, Tom Castilaw, and Cordaro Shockley. In this community, we serve, encourage, and build each other up each day.

What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?

God is made perfect in my weakness. I am going to continue to fall—I’m imperfect. I have all these lofty ideas of how I want to please God and I constantly fall short but the more I focus on Him, the more He becomes the light of my life. The Increase of Christ in my life is for me to die to myself, wanting the things that God wants. The more I find out about Him, the more I want to please Him and allow Him to be a light to others through me.

What is your life verse and why?

2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” This is my life verse because I believe the Christian life is all about making disciples.

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