Episode 1. Winner or Loser?
Let me ask you something – when you get up in the morning and look at your face in the mirror – what do you see? A winner, or a loser? Interesting question. And when God looks at you – what do you think He sees – a winner, or a loser? Let me begin […]
Let me ask you something – when you get up in the morning and look at your face in the mirror – what do you see? A winner, or a loser? Interesting question. And when God looks at you – what do you think He sees – a winner, or a loser?
Let me begin today by asking you a question. When you look in the mirror, what do you see? A winner or a loser? Or maybe you’re someone who’s neither. In that grey mass in the middle where most other people are. Neither winning or losing. Neither succeeding at life or failing. Are you someone who’s been conquered by the circumstances of your life? Or are you someone who’s turned the tables and rather than being conquered by them, you’ve in fact conquered those circumstances?
Interesting question because so often the way we see ourselves will have such a powerful impact on the life we end up living.
The athlete who settles down in the starting blocks of a race waiting for the starter’s gun to fire. Let me ask you. If that athlete, in his heart of hearts, sees himself as a loser, if he’s there thinking, “I’m never going to win this race”, do you think for one moment he’s actually going to win the race? Do you think for one moment that he’s going to throw his heart and every other part of himself into drawing ahead of the rest of the field and winning the prize? No.
So why do we imagine that, in our lives, it would be any different? Why do we imagine if we see ourselves as being a failure or a loser, we would make a success out of our lives? Let me ask you again. When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Not sure if you’ve ever thought much about that. But many a person is living their lives out as someone who’s been defeated. And so many others hover in that grey no man’s land between being conquered and having victory. Never really living out their lives to the full.
I’m so excited today because on the program we’re kicking off a series of programs. Ten in all. So this week and next week. Called ‘More Than Conquerors’. Because here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what you or I see when we look in the mirror. What really matters is what God sees when you and I look in the mirror.
And what He sees when He looks at our reflection is someone who’s not a loser. Someone who’s not with that large grey mass in the middle who don’t have a clue whether they’re winners or losers. What God sees in us isn’t even someone who’s a conqueror. What God sees in you and me is someone who’s more than a conqueror.
How do I come to that conclusion? Well the victory that God wants you and me to have in our lives is plastered all over the Old Testament and the New Testament. And when I opened my eyes to it, I’ve got to tell you, it blew me away.
It’s a whole different perspective, if you’ll pardon the pun, God’s perspective on who we are when we place our faith in Jesus and what life He wants us to have. A life of victory. A life where circumstances don’t conquer us but where we conquer them.
See being more than a conqueror isn’t just about not being defeated, it’s about living life so fully, so completely in the victory that Jesus Christ purchased for you and me on that cross. That His glory and His power and His love and His grace overflow out of our lives into the lives of other people.
See a conqueror sits back and surveys the battlefield and gloats in his or her victory. But someone who’s more than a conqueror takes victory and shares it around.
My friend, listen to me, God wants for you and for me to be more than a conqueror. What I don’t mean by that is that we set some selfish agenda for ourselves and then we trample over all and sundry to get what we want. What I don’t mean is that we’re meant to have lots of money and live in a big house and be wealthy. There are plenty of people out there who’ll tell you that and I’m not one of them. If that’s what you want to hear, go listen to them.
No, what I mean is that come what may, whatever life hurls at us, whatever trials and wildernesses we have to walk through, that there will be something inside us. A joy, a quiet assurance. A peace that doesn’t make sense.
That’s what I mean. Joy and peace and an assurance that our King, God Himself, is still on the throne; that our redeemer lives. That come what may, one day you and I will be with Him in all His glory, come what may.
See, this idea of being more than a conqueror, it’s not my idea. Actually it comes from Gods word, specifically the apostle Paul. Now Paul, Paul poured his life out to tell people about Jesus and yet, he faced the most awful trials. Have a listen.
He’s writing to the Church in Corinth and he’s sharing some of the things that he’s been through and his helpers have been through and he says that:
We’ve been through great endurance, in afflictions, hardship, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, in labour, sleepless nights, hunger.
And yet they’ve survived. They’ve survived by:
Purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech and the power of God.
With the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left. In honour and dishonour. In ill repute and good repute. When we are treated as impostors and yet, are true. As unknown and yet are well known. As dying and see, we’re still alive. As punished and yet not killed. As sorrowful yet always rejoicing. As poor yet making many riches. As having nothing and yet possessing everything.
That’s what he writes. 2 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 5 to 10.
You see here what’s going on? He’s saying circumstances buddy are not going to get the better of me. Paul’s had a tough gig out there living his life for Jesus. In 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verses 8 to 10. This is what he says:
We are afflicted in every way but not crushed. Perplexed but not driven to despair. Persecuted but not forsaken. Struck down but not destroyed. Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.
And when he’s writing to the Church in Rome, he picks up on this, this reality of his life and listen to the words of confidence and assurance in the face of the toughest of circumstances. Romans chapter 8, verses 35 to 39. This is what he says:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long. We are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers nor present things nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I don’t know about you but Paul has something I want. And it’s not just him. We’ll look at some other instances of this over the next few weeks. My point today is this. Let me come back to it. When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see a winner or a loser? Because there’s nothing, nothing in the Bible about living out our lives as losers. There’s nothing in Gods will that wants us wallowing around in self pity and fear and grief all our lives.
Now, don’t get me wrong. God promises us that we will have pressures, that we will travel through persecutions and trials and losses and all those things. He promises we will and it’s human, sometimes those things are hard, sometimes those things get us down. But in those, His will is for us not to be defeated.
Not just for us to have victory but for us to have the sort of victory where we have more than enough to share around with others in need. The sort of victory where we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
The question, well the question is this. Are we ready for that sort of life? Are we ready to be more than conquerors? Is that something that we really really want? Well, is it?