What does winning look like? Winning looks like the Dayton Flyers defeating Ohio State in the first round and deflating the Syracuse Orangemen in the second round. Winning looks like the Dayton team piling on each other at center court after the first big win. Winning looks like Mercer beating Duke in the first round. Winning looks like Kentucky outlasting undefeated Wichita State and Virginia beating Memphis by 18. Winning looks good, especially when you’re the one winning.
We know what winning looks like and we know what winning doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like losing; it doesn’t look like long faces of shame or slow paces after the game. We know that losing “sucks;” yet we know that losing is a part of winning just like death is a part of life and just like dying is a part of living. No healthy human wants to die, and no agile athlete wants to lose. We know that everyone who has a hunger for the game wants to win and everyone who has a passion for the same hates to lose.
So what does losing look like? Spiritually speaking, losing is as ugly as 40 miles of bad road. Losing is like having a bad hair day. Losing is gut-wrenching and heart-aching. And so we conclude that losing looks like this: Eve being deceived by the Serpent; Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit; and Cain murdering his brother, and then lying to God about it.
Winning does not look like and does not sound like and does not feel like losing. Unfortunately, losing, Biblically speaking, is found in every life of every legend in the Bible. Abraham, his son, and his sons’s sons were pathological liars. Moses was a murderer and David orchestrated a murder mystery second to none. All of our Heroes of the faith had moral taint and immoral tendencies. And yet they all “won.”
And so we conclude that winning is a spiritual thing. We conclude that we cannot win by ourselves, in and of ourselves. We only win in Christ. We only triumph when we trust; we only subjugate when we surrender, we only rout the enemy when we have been redeemed by our Eternal Friend, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
So remember that wining in Christ doesn’t look like winning in the world. Contrary to the propositions of the prosperity preachers, winning is not necessarily a nice new car and a huge new house. Winning is not necessarily living to gain or life without pain. First and foremost, winning is spiritual. Our victory is our reliance and relationship with Him. No one is perfect and everyone doesn’t win every game. But our victory is found and bound in a life lived to win the pleasure of God and not the applause of men.