George Lilja was All-Big Ten and All-America as center for the University of Michigan. In 1981 he was drafted in the 4th round by the L.A. Rams. He later played for the New York Jets before joining the Cleveland Browns.

He and his wife, Meg, live in Bay Village, Ohio.




George Lilja

"Is there anything more important in life than playing football?"

If you would have asked me this question when I was growing up, I would have said, "No." But something happened to me when I was in high school that changed my game of football--and changed my life.

It took place when I was a sophomore in high school. I was first-string tackle, and I had everything going for me.

But the next year, my family moved and I went from being a starter to last string on a new team. I had used sports to gain friends. Now, because of the move, I had lost my starting position, and I had lost some good friends.

A search for meaning

Things started to go bad. I began searching for something, something to make me happy. I asked myself, "Who am I? What am I doing here?" That's when I began reading some magazine articles about Christian athletes. I had grown up in a Christian home and had gone to church all my life. These athletes and I had the same goals. But they talked about something more that I didn't have, and that was a personal realtionship with Jesus Christ.

I started to look into this. I read the Bible and found out what they were talking about. Even though I thought I was a pretty good guy, I learned that I was a sinner. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

When I agreed with this, and believed that God sent Jesus Christ to die for my sins so I wouldn't have to, I saw that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. I recognized that He really is the only way to know God.

#1 in my life...

I had a choice to make: I could either make football #1 or I could make Christ #1 and live for Him. I've chosen to follow Jesus Christ. The more I've committed my life to Him, the more I've been able to relax because my priorities are in order.

Knowing Jesus Christ personally has made a difference in my life. For instance, I tend to worry a lot. But I know, with Christ, I don't have to worry--about anything. He said, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). I know from experience that you don't have to let life's worries get to you because Jesus Christ will take care of them.

Knowing Christ has helped me accept the ups and downs in life. Like me, you're going to go through a lot of ups and downs. Christ helps me focus on a goal beyond this world. I see that I'm just passing through on earth, and that one day, I'll spend eternity with God.

I don't want you to think that God is a good luck charm and that if you accept Him into your life everything will automatically go well. It won't. I know how to deal with failure because Christ told me: "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" (Romans 8:28).

Someone loves you...

I want to ask you a question:

Where is Jesus Christ in your life? Is He in your heart? He wants you to have a personal relationship with you because He loves you.

If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.