We talked with professional baseball player Nick Ahmed about his faith journey, how he’s living in the increase of Christ, and the mentors who have impacted his life. Here’s what he had to say:
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
My faith affects everything I do. It affects my time management, how I treat my wife as a husband, how I parent my two boys, and how I go about my work every single day. God is in control of everything so I need to default to Him for guidance in every aspect of my life.
Can you describe how your journey with Christ began?
I grew up going to a Catholic church with my family but I didn’t have a real relationship with God. I was too obsessed with sports. But in 2013, I had a really hard year. Every night, if felt like I was going 0-for-4 with a couple strikeouts. I would go back to my apartment at the end of the night and lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. I didn’t know how to deal with the failure. I didn’t know how to handle the adversity. I was crushed because baseball was my idol. And I had made success my idol as well. I wouldn’t sleep and I’d think the next day I’d show up to the park and get released, and my dream I have had since I was 4 years old would be over.
Then I started to regularly attend chapel services and dig into the Word myself. I started to understand who Jesus was and that He wanted a relationship with me, not just for me to check a bunch of boxes and go to church on Sunday.
I can’t tell you why, it was just God moving in me, but in the middle of a game — the fifth inning — I jogged out to shortstop and, instead of taking the two or three ground balls to warm up between innings, I just turned around, faced the outfield, closed my eyes and prayed. “Alright God, I have been doing life by myself for the past 20 years. I need You to come save me and start teaching me to do life with You.” I gave my life to Christ at that point on the field. It changed how I thought and how I lived. God gave me new desires. It’s a long process, and still is, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
Andy Green, the team manager while I was with the Mobile Baybears (the Diamondbacks’ Double-A team), was my first real spiritual mentor. He taught me what it was like to study the Bible. He led Bible studies for our team on the road, and often he’d call me into his office just to show me he cared about me as a person, more than my performance on the field. Prior to that, I had never had a coach take interest in my life like that.
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
John 3:30 is a verse that is really important, especially to me as a baseball player. People often cheer for me or elevate me more than they should; it is dangerous when people massage your ego, making us better than we are. Jesus needs to be first and I need to give Him all the glory and credit for everything I do, both on and off the field.
What is your life verse and why?
When I was going through that hard time in 2013, I read one part of the Bible that really jumped off the page for me. James 1:2-4 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 in anything.”
When I was going through trials that year, I had no clue how to handle them on my own. This passage woke me up to understand I wasn’t doing life the way God wanted me to. I realized I shouldn’t view trials as a negative, but as a positive — something God uses to make me into the person He wants me to be.
Now, I write that verse in my hat each season. Whether I’m going through a tough time or an easy one, this verse reminds me that I need to keep God’s perspective. He can bring something good out of every situation.
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