We talked with Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy about his faith journey, how he’s living in the increase of Christ, and the mentors that have impacted his life. Here’s what he had to say.
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
I hope that the Holy Spirit within me is a reflection of Jesus to all those around me, starting in my home with my family and reaching to everyone I come in contact with. The love, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus that I’ve tasted affects every area of my life. Because of this, I know that whatever my current circumstances are, they will not determine my joy and peace—only Christ can. Situations might affect my happiness or sadness, but if I’m in the center of Jesus’ will, He will shape all of my decisions as well as my attitude towards life.
Describe how your Journey with Christ began.
Growing up I went to church with my family and I always knew that Jesus had surrendered His perfect blood on the cross for my sin, but I had no interest in it. I thought, and rightly so, that if I surrendered my life to Him then He would have complete control of me and I would not have my way—I didn’t want to do that. But in 2011, after being injured and having my girlfriend break up with me, I was flat on my back. Even though I had just experienced, what was up to that point, the greatest season of my career, I was lost. I finally surrendered to Jesus and said, “I don’t know what You have in store for me but I want to go where You want me to go, I want to do what You want me to do. I give my life to You.” When I made that decision a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Soon after that, my relationship with my girlfriend was restored, two months later she gave her life to Christ, and less than a year later she became my wife. As I watched Jesus turn my life around and restore my relationship with my now-wife and mother of my children—the relationship which I had so brilliantly decimated—I realized that His will is so much greater than mine.
Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
One of the biggest mentors in my life is my mother, especially in the days when I surrendered my life to Christ. She always loved her kids more than anything, she’s even admitted that we can be an idol for her. During that time, she said something to me that really impacted my faith. She said, “Even though I love you, your sister, and your brother so much, I know that God loves you infinitely more…I can’t even comprehend that.” Before that I had always seen God as the righteous and just God—which He is—but I had overlooked the fact that God is also loving. And now that I have my own children, I realize that He must love us that much because He gave us the greatest gift anyone could give—He gave us His only Son. Knowing how sinful I am, and how undeserving I am of that gift, that is an enormous act of love.
My brother is someone who I lean on a great deal. Even though he is younger, he pours into me. He has a perspective that is really mature and wise, which I really appreciate.
My father taught me what it means to be a man and provide for my family selflessly. Though he isn’t super vocal about his faith, he lives out the Gospel every day.
The New York Mets Chaplain Cali Magallanes has really poured into me, especially during the six years I was with the team. He was there when I only loved me, he was there when I loved me but wanted to surrender to Jesus, he is still there as I try to surrender to Jesus daily. He also married my wife and me.
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
When I think of John 3:30 I know that I have to take the focus off of myself and force it onto Jesus. There’s a lot of humility required to take a step back but when we look at the life of Jesus, He Himself was extremely humble. I want whatever gifts and talents that God has given me to be used to increase His name, not my own. We are to shine the light of Christ to everyone we can, but this is much easier said than done. Humility is completely against my nature—I really like it when people recognize me, but I know that nothing I’ve done is of my own strength. Every gift is from God should be used to bring Him glory.
What is your Life Verse? Why?
My life verse is Matthew 22:27, ‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ Pilate asked.” This verse is so powerful for me because it is the question posed by Pilate to the Jewish leaders but it’s also the question that I ask myself every day that I wake up: do I surrender to Jesus and seek to glorify Him today or do I surrender to Daniel and seek to glorify Daniel? This question is so profound that it shapes everything I do each day. When I realize that I have Jesus with me, I choose to live for Him.
Check out Daniel’s full profile on The Increase Baseball: https://theincrease.com/author/danielmurphy/
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