As Jeremy Lin gains wealth and fame, he is bound to face a multitude of temptations that most mortals likely could not resist.
Lin, a devout Christian, has been warned by his pastor to reject such sinful activities should they come his way.
The Rev. Stephen Chen, pastor of Redeemer Bible Fellowship, the English-language ministry of the Chinese Church in Christ in Mountain View, Calif., told The New York Post: “It would be foolish to say that I’m not concerned with the temptations that are out there. The Scripture talks about the Devil lying in wait like a lion waiting to devour. All Christians would be foolish to underestimate the Devil.”
Chen, who at 33 is only a decade older than his most celebrated parishioner, said he spoke to Lin recently.
“I did remind him of the Gospel and for him to continue to set his vision upon Christ,” he said.
Apparently, Lin and Chen communicate frequently.
The New York Daily News reported that right after the Feb. 4 game in which Lin started and defeated the New Jersey Nets (the moment 'Linsanity' was born), Lin quickly called his pastor.
“He was ecstatic,” Chen remembered. “He just said, ‘I’m just so thankful.’ To even have a shot in the NBA, that’s a blessing from God. To even be sitting on the bench to play garbage minutes, that’s a blessing. To be playing that much? That’s truly a blessing.”
Like NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, Lin wears his faith on his sleeve and frequently attributes his sudden success to the Almighty.
“If you were to ask him if he were a basketball player, he’d say yes,” said Chen. “But in all those things, Jeremy understands that those things do not define him. He would say that he’s a Christian Chinese person, or a Christian basketball player. That defines him.”
Some are concerned, however, that, as with Tebow, a significant portion of the public may turn against Lin due to his high-profile Christianity.
“Religion can bring players together, certainly,” Will Weiner, a New York-based sports psychologist, told the News. “However, there are certainly locker rooms that have been a bit divided by it as well.”
Weiner added: “Tebow’s got a touch of evangelicalism in him. Some may perceive him to be proselytizing.”
Lin doesn't appear to have alienated his Knicks teammates with his passionate faith.
“Jeremy seems to have a very healthy relationship with his teammates,” Weiner noted. “There’s something that’s just very humble about him.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Chen discussed Lin's humility.
“As a person, maybe a side that the media does not often get to see is that he’s playful and that he’s down to earth,” he said. “He’s funny. In terms of Christian character, he’s always been faithful, if he says he’s going to do something he not only does it but he does it well. He’s always been very winsome. He’s very compassionate.”