We were able to talk with with NFL guard, Manny Ramirez, to talk about how he is living in the increase of Christ, his faith journey and the mentors that have been in his life. Here’s what he had to say.
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
Faith gives you perspective for life. It helps give me the understanding that we will go through hard times but if I are able to stick to Him as my foundation and believe His Word, I will be given wisdom and strength in God to get through it. Having faith and trust that God gets me through every situation, whether it turns out the way I want it or not, it’s His plan and He has bigger and better things for us than we expect.
Describe how your Journey with Christ began.
I gave my life to the Lord on April 4th, 2004 but my search for Him began a few years prior to that day. During my freshman year in college I got into an altercation when I was at a club where I almost lost my life. This was an eye-opener for me; it put in perspective for me what is important in life and what is not. I knew that I was lacking in something but didn’t know what that something was so I began searching. Though I had grown up hearing about God, I didn’t understand who He was. One of the athletic trainers at my college came alongside me and let me confide in him. He eventually tried to play match-maker with me and Iris because he knew that Iris had a strong faith in God and that I needed exactly that.
Iris and I started talking and as we did, she would talk about God. I was struggling with that and didn’t want to talk about God but she told me, “If I can’t talk about God, we can’t have a relationship.” One day she invited me to church. I went and enjoyed it but thought that it wasn’t for me. And although I didn’t want to, I went back with her a few weeks later. That night, we were sitting in the back of the church when Pastor Angie (Iris’s mom) invited anyone who needed prayer to come up to the front. Iris went up and asked if I wanted to go too, I didn’t. Iris went up and was praying for a clear direction and that if we were supposed to be together that God would change my heart that night. During her prayer, I was in the back telling God that I was done doing life on my own; I knew I kept trying and failing and I was tired of it. Next thing I knew I was crying and pouring my heart out to God. Pastor Angie came up to me and asked if I was ready to give my life to the Lord and I said, “I am.” God answered both Iris and my prayers that night and since that day God has miraculously changed my life—it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
The Lions Chaplain Dave Wilson and his wife, Ann Wilson, have been great mentors to me and Iris as since we started in the NFL. They have really helped us know what it means to follow God as an NFL couple. My mother-in-law, Pastor Angie, who helped lead me to the Lord, and my father-in-law, Oscar, have also been huge encouragements and role models for me and Iris. And though my parents aren’t believers, they have always loved me and raised me well.
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
The Increase of Christ is everything to me. It’s about having that understanding that we need to decrease ourselves in order that He can increase. We can’t get comfortable in our walk or else we will fade away and stop relying on His power in our lives. We need to stay close to God so that He can be glorified in our lives.
What is your life verse?
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” – People always told me growing up that they were praying for me. This verse stuck with me even before I became a believer and then once I accepted Christ, this verse took on a whole new meaning for me. This truth gives me a peace, knowing that all things are in God’s hands. Not knowing what’s coming next is very hard at times but knowing that He’s in control gives me a great peace.
Check out Manny’s full profile on the Increase here: https://theincrease.com/author/manny-ramirez/
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