Jun 09, 2009
April 23, 2009
I Refuse To Lose!!!
A Word of Encouragement
My Dear Friends in the Faith:
I have been a sports enthusiast for many years; I love watching and playing sports. Not long ago I decided to follow a sport that I do not normally watch nor pay attention to- cycling. I watched the long grueling race called the Tour de France. I gained particular interest when repeated champion Lance Armstrong was accused of taking performance enhancing drugs to produce his repeated wins.
A reporter from a sports magazine posed this interesting question to Lance Armstrong during an interview: "Lance, did you do it? Did you use steroids or any form of performance-enhancing drugs to win?" Armstrong's answer blessed me. He replied, "No! I have never used performance-enhancing drugs. Instead of watching what goes into me they should keep their eyes on what's coming out of me." Candid and fearless, the reporter asked this world-renowned athlete, "How do you explain the numerous wins? How do you explain repeatedly beating the world's top athletes year after year?" Armstrong responded in a fashion that helped me, and I hope that it helps you as you run this race of life. He said, "I show up the day of the race prepared to roll. I bring to the table an attitude that simply says losing is not an option!" Armstrong explained, "In spite of the opposition and the people that I am racing against, I tell myself one thing before I get there that sticks with me the entire race. It stays in my mind when I am tired and my legs are hurting. I think of it when it seems like it is impossible to continue on. I keep telling myself, 'I refuse to lose!'"
Let's face it, sometimes we lose things. We lose our joy and end up in worry; we lose our peace and end up in anger; we lose our patience and end up getting ahead of God; and, we lose our hope and end up in despair. There are even moments when we lose our families and end up in divorce; we lose loved ones and end up at a grave site; we lose our resources and end up wondering what happened to our money; we lose our jobs and end up unemployed with bills still due; we lose our way and end up in darkness; and, we lose faith and end up sinking when we should be walking on the water. But, I have good news for everyone who has suffered some losses and know that its time for some gains, you can reach a place in life where you just refuse to lose!
Get this, you are on the Lord's side, which places every believer on the winning team. As Paul writes to the Philippians he says,
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you (Phil. 1:19-24, KJV).
Here is what the great Apostle is really saying, I refuse to lose! Paul has reached a point where losing is just not an option with God on His side. He gets to a point where he argues that he will win no matter what happens. If he lives, he wins. He can continue preaching, teaching, and doing the work of the ministry. If he dies, he wins because in death he is with the Lord, and he knows that this is gain. The end result is awesome; he cannot lose in Christ! So what attitude must you possess so that you too can say "I refuse to lose?"
You must have an attitude of complete deliverance. There comes a time in life when you face an obstacle and after you pray about it something comes over you that just lets you know that everything is going to be all right. Have you ever been there before? It's what happens to Paul. He says "for I know..." He means this, that I have prayed about it, you have prayed about it and I have made my peace with God about it and it is going to be okay, my God is going to deliver (soteria) me! There is an interesting figure of speech here called a metonymy. Metonymy is the intermingling of one idea with another. Paul says it was your prayers, but it was also God's provisions that saw me through. The more I know and the more you pray, the more God supplies. The word used to describe the supply is epichorgia. It is the same term used to describe the flowing waters of a river. River water flows all of the time like God's blessings and provisions in your life. It flows in every season; summer, winter, spring, and fall. It flows on good days and tough days. You are not going to lose because your river is flowing! God keeps providing!
You must have an attitude of confident discovery. Here's the truth, too many of us spend our time inspecting what God says instead of expecting what God has promised. However, if you are going to win and not lose you must reach a point where you expect for God to do what He has promised that He would do! Paul says, "my earnest expectation." This phrase is a tongue twister in the Greek language. It comes from the word apokatadokia. Apo means to lift the head. Kata means to stretch the neck. And, dokia means to strain the eye. Thus, great expectation means to lift the head, stretch the neck, and strain the eye. It's that look you use to have when you were waiting on your school bus to pick you up from school. If you were like me, you were waiting with great expectation. Likewise, spiritual victory comes to those who look to the Lord with that kind of expectancy. Here's a great devotional question for you. If you could only have what you expected from the Lord, what would you possess right now? Hear this, winners in Christ look to Jesus expecting for Him to do great things and He in turn does great things for them!
And, lastly you must have an attitude of Christ-Centered determination. The enemy wants you to quit. He wants you to give up. He wants you to lose. He wants you to worry about things you cannot control, lose sight of things that are real, forget about God's goodness, and lose. If you are going to win in life you have to be determined to do it. Paul says, "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Now that's determined!!! True determination comes when you are too stubborn to quit, too crazy to become discouraged, and too confident to consider losing as an option. Winning only comes through the attitude of a person that says, "I am determined!"
While in his interview Lance Armstrong made the comment that the reason he won so many races was because he specialized in winning from behind. You see, unlike his competitors he does his best riding in the hill country, when others are too weak to continue to make the climb. It is then that he gives himself a pep talk and says, "I refuse to lose!"
Consider this devotional your pep talk and know that in Jesus Christ you have the victory and face today and everyday with a made up mind that says, "I refuse to lose!"
Your Friend and His Servant,
Dr. John R. Adolph, Pastor
Phil. 3:14, KJV
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Visit us at www.jradolphministries.org