If you love sports, and thrive on watching and witnessing the drive to victory, you have to love the new Underarmour commercial “#IWILL.”  I will is a declaration. It is a declaration to be committed and the determination to see it through.

For high school football players, the road to the playoffs and the championship begins in August with the simple but profound phrase, “I Will.”  I will train; I practice (where is Allen Iverson when you need him?); I will work out; I will be disciplined; I will be strong. Every time and in every instance you feel like you can’t make it you should immediately declare and decree that you are not weak, for the weak are required to declare “I am strong.”

At a tough time in Joshua’s life, God Himself encouraged him three times to be strong:

“Be strong and of good courage; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. . . .  Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6-9, RSV).  And the Apostle Paul borrows from this admonition to Joshua and tells the Corinthians and us the same thing: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV).

With strength, more specifically, the strength of the Lord, we will have good success.  Our God is strong, and He wills that we be strong like Him too. He is “the Lord, strong and mighty.  He is the Lord mighty in battle.”  We are to be “strong in Him, and the power of His might.” Because it is impossible for God to lie, we are to have “strong encouragement” knowing He will make good on every promise he has made to us.

Strength of mind and strength of spirit come before strength of soul and strength of body.  Strength of mind is the necessary prerequisite for victory, and strength of spirit is even more important.  Without them, there is no success, no triumph, and no trophy.  Mental toughness and spiritual strength come not from lifting weights or pumping iron but from resisting temptation and embracing inspiration.  Yielding to the Devil’s temptation weakens; embracing God’s inspiration strengthens.  

So, say “I will.” Say, “I will praise the Lord.”  Say, “I will rejoice.”  Say, “I will bless the Lord.” Say, “I will be thankful.” Say, “I will sing the Song of the Lord.”  Say it!  And then it will be easier to do it. 

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