He got so out of control, it started affecting his performance. It almost cost him his marriage and family. Then in 2012, Pacquiao’s life turned around.
Sports reporters described the turning point in different ways — he found God, became a Christian, got religion, or returned to his faith. Pacquiao says, “God changed my heart.”
Whatever words you use, everyone around him took notice. His old ways of gambling, drinking, and womanizing stopped. He even cut his ties with business that would tempt him back into that lifestyle. He sold his share in multiple bars and casinos and spent his time doing Bible studies with his family instead.
Now, that is the biggest legacy he wants to leave. Even more than a boxing record or political change in his home country, he wants to be known as “a real Christian.”
“I call myself a real Christian because many people are claiming they are Christian, okay. They are claiming that they believe God. Great, they are claiming that they believe God, they pray every day, they pray many times daily. But the truth is they don’t really believe God, they just know God.
“You know why? Because if you believe God, you’ll obey. But if you look at me, how can you say ‘I believe in God’ but you will not obey him? How can you say you believe God? That’s the problem.”
Pacquiao has definitely lived out his words in his own life. At the press conference before the big fight, he gave all the credit to God for what he has accomplished. God raised him from a poor kid sleeping on the streets to the prominence he has today, and he just wants to share that with other people.
And this is what he posted the day after the fight:
To all the fans, thank you for all your support. Thank you for always being there for me no matter what the outcome. I thank God for always guiding us through our lives. His plans is higher than our plans and His ways are higher than our ways. God Bless you all.
“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
Even though the judges ruled that he lost, Pacquiao still has a great attitude. Clearly, his focus is even higher than beating an undefeated boxer. Boxing is his job, and he’s passionate about it, but he cares even more about his relationship with God.
What if we had the same focus? God first, family second, and then whatever job God’s given us in life. Thanks to Manny Pacquiao for showing us how the areas of our life are at their best when we first get them in the right order.