The first time I heard that expression, “Everyone gets a trophy,” I thought to myself … “What are we teaching our kids?” Not everyone wins and especially not all the time. Life is filled with winning and losing, victory and defeat and more often, defeat than victory. The desire to win or maybe for many, the fear of failure, is so in our nature that some people will not even play unless they know they can win … I am not mentioning names here, but you know who you are. We all love to win, but life is cruel in that we are losers more than winners! I guess that is why we seek to protect the fragile ego of children and tell them they are winners, even when they are the worst team.
The problem is they grow up with a sense of entitlement. A sense that they deserve to win and to be treated like a winner. Then Jesus comes along, and scripture says you are not a winner; you are a sinner, and you need a savior to forgive your sin so that you can win! Not win at games or business, but at life … eternally. But what do you mean, I am not a winner?!? My parents, teachers and coaches tell me all the time that I am a winner, and I can be and accomplish anything! Well, that is nice … but not true! Jesus said … For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36) Forfeit is another word for lose! Go for the gold, go the win, the cheers, the achievements, the accolades … but when it is all over … then what?
The truth is that we really do not win in this world. There is only ONE who has won … and we win because He won! It is like when your favorite team, college or professional, wins and you say, “We won!” Well, YOU did not really win but because you are one of them (fan or alumni), you consider their win, your win. When you come to faith in Jesus, you win because He won. He overcame death and the grave and comes to forgive, restore, and redeem you. Then, that changes how you live. Now you really have won and are continuing to win all the way to the end! Look at what the Apostle Paul says:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24–27
Paul says live into the fact that you have won and are winning, which assumes you know that you are in a race. Train, discipline and prepare for victory that is yours in Christ Jesus. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
And the Apostle John … For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4
Do not let the world tell you that you are a winner when you are a sinner. Let Jesus forgive your sin for the win! That is the only way to make it to the finish line. Spend some time thinking about what Jesus did for you in dying for your sins and overcoming the grave in His resurrection, so that in Christ, you might have victory in Him over death and the grave. Then think about Paul’s words above in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
How are you living today in preparation to cross the finish line of tomorrow?