South African cricketer Jean Paul Duminy, known as J.P, has made quite a name for himself as a left-handed batsman and right-handed off-spin bowler. Having grown up in the Western Cape of South Africa, he currently plays for both his home team, the Cape Cobras, and the South African national team.
It all started when I was a young boy of eight years old, playing for the Strandfontein Cricket Club – I fell in love with the game of cricket. While I enjoyed the game immensely, it was my dad who believed I had the talent to represent my country one day. At the age of 17, I received my first professional contract with the Western Province.
I have always been incredibly blessed to have such amazing family, friends and coaches as my support structures. But it was in 2012, when I snapped my Achilles, that I truly grew in my reliance on and personal faith in Christ Jesus.
This crucial time in my life was even more significant for my spiritual walk. He put some really good friends around me who guided me through my journey of getting to know who Christ really is and understanding what He did for me on the cross at Calvary.
A verse in the book of Galatians has been a real encouragement to me which says; "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." – Galatians 2:20.
Since that time, my drive is to be the best I can be in my sport in order to honour God with the talent He's given me. I want to glorify Him and His name through every little thing I do.
There are huge expectations that come with being a professional athlete, and because of those expectations we can become desperate at times. This career might look easy, but with the amount of time and energy we as professional cricketers invest in our sport, we face certain challenges every day. Throughout the years, I've learned that there is only so much I can do in my own strength. After that, it's all about leaving it in God's hands.
I am nothing without Christ. None of my successes would have been possible without Him. We are all fallen creatures and that's why Christ died for us. My identity is not found in how anyone else labels me, it's found in who He says I am.
At the end of my life, I want to be remembered as someone who, like Christ, gave his all at all times, who loved people, who was compassionate to the needs of others, and who always had a servant attitude.
J.P's favourite Bible verse comes from Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."•
This story first appeared in the Sport Go Magazine. Used with kind permission.