Everybody wants to be a winner. I can’t help but think of my grandson’s last basketball season. The boys were struggling in their last game. They would get up a couple points and then fall back. It was driving them crazy! In the last two minutes of their game, they fell behind and you know the rest – defeat. We felt bad for them, but also knew that losing is a part of life that everyone needs to learn to handle. My husband put his hand on our grandson’s back and said, “Well, you didn’t win, but you did your best, and that’s what’s important.” He replied with, “That’s what they say to all the losers.” It was sad, and funny at the same time. He took it well, but was just being honest. Victory is something that we all want in every aspect of our lives. No one sets out to be a “loser.
The most tragic loss we can have is the loss of our soul. We don’t often think in terms of losing or winning when we think of our souls, and yet the Bible constantly tells us we are to keep our hearts and minds pure that we might secure eternal life for our souls, our most valuable possession. I, along with many other Christians and those who penned the Holy Scriptures, am deeply concerned about our young people. We have heard that before, but I want you to understand that I am not concerned because I believe they are so ungodly, as much as I am concerned that they have seen so much ungodliness out of many who profess to be Christians but do not even make a half-hearted attempt to live up to that profession (and yes, it is a profession)! Countless times we hear of this brother or that brother going by the wayside. This sister or that sister has fallen away from the church. Some Christians are drinking socially or at the least defending that ungodly act. We see Christian parents setting examples of immodest dress, while they tell their children to dress modestly. Christian fathers telling their sons to be loyal and faithful, while in their private lives, they are behaving very differently. I believe that blatant disregard for the Scriptures on the part of one who calls himself/herself a Christian can be far more discouraging than being exposed to the works of the flesh by those who have never put on their Lord, because our young people do not have the same expectation level for those whom they know have chosen to be ungodly. But when those who have obeyed the gospel show out-and-out disregard for God and His Word, it is confusing at the least and provokes distrust, anger, and discouragement, which often leads to disbelief. Now I realize that this is (hopefully) the exception, not the rule, and I think that most parents and adult Christians do not do these things intentionally. Now we all know that the devil is out there as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), but a careful study will show us that in verse nine, we are told to resist him steadfastly, in the faith, “knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” We, as Christians, are not exempt from sin! Sometimes we think we have it all together, but it is a constant unending battle to fight off worldliness. It means that for us to be victorious, and not be “losers,” we need to check ourselves daily (perhaps moment by moment) to make sure what we are doing is in accordance with God’s will. To resist him steadfastly in the faith, means we will check it out with the Word of God (study), to make sure our practices are not those we have innocently or intentionally adopted from the worldly, popular ways of society. Even at my older age, I am ever amazed at how I have been subtly influenced by external things this world presents to us in so many different ways. It is a difficult battle. I will not deny that. Sadly some aren’t even aware that they are in a battle! They simply float along, going to services, believing that all will be well if you simply “take your kids to church,” and try to do good. Victorious living is rising above doing what is considered by others to be good and achieving that higher level of being what God said is good. Victorious living requires service (working in the kingdom). Victorious living involves being on task for the Lord constantly in every aspect of our lives, for it is a way of life. Victorious living results in VICTORY! It will allow us to wear a crown of life and live eternally with our Father in a place that is greater that any we can even imagine. No victory comes without hard work, patience and practice. If it were that easy everyone would be winners all of the time at everything and we know that is not a possibility. Verse ten of 1 Peter 5 follows up with this. “ But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. God will establish us after our labors on this earth are over. He will strengthen us when we are weak as we look to His Word. And…….He will take us home to heaven with Him to live eternally in bliss when this life is over for us. Never doubt that. We CAN be victorious!
Nancy is the wife of Bill Goring, who serves as a gospel preacher and elder for the Chipman Road church of Christ in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren and has taught Bible class for over 40 years, speaks at Ladies Day gatherings and has published several books including: Behavior Becoming Holiness: Studies in Titus Chapter 2 and Overcoming our Self-Imposed Prisons.