In It To Win It

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

runner crossing finish line
A friend of mine has a saying that goes something like this: "Those who say it's not about winning but enjoying the game are those who have never won." The Spurs won game one of their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors in the last second in double over-time after trailing by 16 points in the fourth quarter. They were interested in only one thing - winning. And they weren't going home until they did. That is why they are consistently one of the top teams in the NBA.

The Apostle Paul would have been a great coach. He had that same winning mentality and in Hebrews 12 he is encouraging us to develop that same mindset for how we live our Christian life. The take-away from this chapter is that this life is a race and we are in it to win it and nothing short of that will do because our eternity is at stake. Paul gives us a playbook that will guarantee we not only finish the race, but will win it. In that playbook there are 4 rules of the game.

Rule #1 - Get rid of every hindrance
If we are ever going to win we must get rid of everything that might slow us down, distract us and knock us off course. This takes determination because the devil does not want you to win and he will throw everything and anything at you to knock you out of the race. When that happens all we have to do is simply throw it off to the side and keep running.

Rule #2 - Persevere to the finish line
We have all heard the phrase, No pain, no gain. That is so true. Endurance is the key. The trained athlete has learned how to ignore the pain and press on. He understands that a little suffering now means a big pay-off in the long run. The difference between losers and winners boils down to one factor - winners persevere to the end.

Rule #3 - Run to win
If we lose sight of why we are in the race in the first place we will quit the moment it gets hard. There is only one thing Tiger Woods loves more than playing golf and that is winning. The moment he steps onto that course he has only one simple goal in mind - win. Without a goal there is no purpose. For us the goal is eternity and that is why we run this race. Keep that in front of you at all times and you are guaranteed to win this race.

Rule #4 - Run like Jesus
Paul tells us in this chapter to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. What he means is that Jesus showed us how to win. He went the distance for us and let nothing stop him. He endured suffering, pain and humiliation for us. He proved to us that it can be done. The great news is that he is running along side us in our race cheering us on. As you run, make this your mantra: He did it for me so I can do it for him.

How is your race going? If you are discouraged, I want to encourage you to keep going. Don't quit. You can do it if you just hang in there. There is too much at stake to quit. Paul tells us the result will be righteousness and peace. Don't worry if you trip or fall because Jesus is right beside you and he will pick you up so you can keep running. Keep telling yourself that you are in it to win it!

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