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Wednesday, 05 October 2016 11:53

The Most Important Win

Written by  Dr. Larry Bryars
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Autumn has always been my favorite season.  There are many reasons…the weather gets cooler, the leaves are changing, and it’s football season.  Already some of my favorite teams have won and lost, and we have only just begun.  

 

This past weekend at least two of my teams were down at the half.  By the end of the game they had made a comeback and won the game.  Nothing feels better than winning, and we love seeing someone win.  Some of us had our eyes glued to the television during the Olympics as we watched winner after winner accept their gold medals with tears streaming down their faces.  We celebrated along with them and felt like we had won.  

 

On the other hand, nobody wants to lose.  One of the blessings of opening our hearts to Jesus is that we are filled with new joy, love, peace, and so much more.  All the things we truly want.  We know we have become winners since we have won eternal life.  We have forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven as a gift of grace. 

 

In the book of Hebrews and in chapter 12 we see a challenge to live our life like an athlete running a race.  We are encouraged to persevere and to keep our eyes on Jesus.  I Corinthians 9 states that we want to run in such a way to win the prize.  The prize is the Kingdom of Heaven.  We keep our eyes on Jesus and run faithfully to the finish. 

 

We love to read the stories of those in the Scriptures that find redemption.  One of those incredible stories is about a man named Saul who goes from persecuting Christians to becoming a follower of Jesus.  He is so devoted to the faith that he becomes known as the Apostle Paul.  Many men and women left their evil ways to become an eternal winner as they heard him preach.

 

For one to lose a game and even a gold medal is nothing compared to losing eternal life.  How sad it is to hear the stories of those who make the wrong decision.  There was one young man that approached Jesus to find what it would take for him to win eternal life.  He had done everything he could humanly do.  He lived as good a life as possible.  When he asked Jesus what were the requirements for eternal life, he found he was close to perfect, but Jesus said just one more thing was required.

 

The man they called the Rich Young Ruler was too attached to his worldly passions to let go of it all and become a follower of Jesus.  When Jesus challenged him to sell all and follow Him, he turned away sad because he had great wealth.  Some would say he was a winner by the world’s standard, but he was a loser in eternity.  He was not a loser because he was rich; many rich people became followers of Jesus and still do.  The problem for this rich, young man was that he could not put God first and yield to faithfully follow Jesus.

 

Winning in a sport or in any earthly endeavor feels good, but the feeling of euphoria will fade away.  I have had my earthly wins.  However, the day I realized that God was not only WITH me but that His Spirit was also IN me, my life changed forever.  That assurance of eternal life transformed the way that I run this race of life.  The Apostle Paul summed it up this way in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  Whether we live or die…we win!

 

It is a great season ahead.  As we enjoy the games, we will win some and lose some, but in our hearts we will always be able to say that in Christ we are winners.

 

Dr. Larry Bryars is the Lead Pastor at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church on Atlanta Highway in Montgomery, Alabama.  He has served in the Alabama-West Florida Conference for over 37 years.  He and his wife, Vicki, have three sons and one grandson.

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 18:33
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