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The Thrill of Victory

  The Thrill of Victory

   For years the “Wide World of Sports” began with the opening line: “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition” This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports.   This television program ran from April 29, 1961 to January 3,1998 and for many families this was a favorite program. The simple formula that made this program a favorite is one that is inherent in all of us. We all like to win!   As we participate in sporting events, games, contests and such while we live our lives we want to win whether we will admit it or not.   This is more evident with some than others and those with whom it is most evident are those that are the most competitive.   What this means is that these folks want very much to win or be victorious.

   Some want to win so badly that they are even willing to break the rules to try to come out on top. In 2Timothy 2:5 the Spirit had Paul address this so that all will know that this will not work with God. He wrote: “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.This is to say “You can’t win if you cheat”.   Jesus Himself also addressed the issue in John 10:1 in that the only way in which one can enter the kingdom and participate in the victory that God planned for humanity is to do it lawfully. To try to gain entrance into that kingdom in some other way puts one in a very bad light. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 

     It is amazing that the focus of many is on the “games” or the things of this life and not on that which matters the most.   In 1Corinthians 15:57-58 we read where the Spirit had Paul remind the church in Corinth that the “victory” is in Christ and also how to “stay on top” so that they could win the ultimate prize – Eternal life.   But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 

   Many are so diligent in their pursuit of victory in this life that they lose focus.   Some have latched onto such slogans as: “He who has the most toys wins” and consider it victory in this life to obtain much while here.   In Luke 12:15 Jesus, in speaking of what is of most importance pointed out the fallacy of such thinking. And he said unto them,

Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.    Folks today that seem so intent on retaining all the “earthly goods” they can are much like the young man of Mark chapter 10 who, by his actions, showed he thought victory was indicated in earthly gain. After the Lord talked to him and told him what to do to set himself up for eternal life – the true victory – He went away from the Lord “grieved” or as Matthew records: “sorrowful”.

Mark 10:22 tells us: And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.  In Matthew 6:33 we are told where the focus of our lives should be and that God is fully aware of our basic needs of life.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  If we can keep our focus on this, we can truly be victorious.

    But before one can expect to obtain the true ‘thrill of victory’, one has to determine what it is that truly makes one victorious. In 1Corinthians 9:24-27 the Spirit had Paul write to those brethren in Corinth so that they would not lose focus and could live their lives with the ultimate thrill of victory of the “incorruptible crown” in mind. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible26  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 

   This passage also makes a point that all Christians need to keep in mind, and that is that just because we have begun the journey to heaven in becoming children of God, we have not yet experienced the ultimate thrill that God has planned for the faithful. I am afraid that many Christians think just because they have been obedient to the gospel, they have a “lock” on victory and have overcome the world.   We have overcome the world, but only in this life and only if we remain faithful.   We cannot just sit back and wait to be rewarded.   Just because we “occupy a pew” or have our names on the church roll doesn’t guarantee victory or a home in heaven.   We must continue to “strive” to remain faithful throughout our lives. We also need to remember that we only have that victory in promise. 1John 2:25 tell us: And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. To have eternal life “in promise” means we can still lose that victory if we are not careful. Those in Galatia were warned of this in Galatians 5:4.   If they could fall from grace, can we not also fall? To fall from grace is to be denied that “Thrill of Victory” when the race is over.   Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. We must keep pressing on toward true victory as was expressed to the Philippian church in Philippians 3:13-14. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus    Press toward that mark. Strive for the “Thrill of Victory” where it really matters.  

                                                                                        Dennis Strickland - Mooresville


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