Everyone loves the feeling of elation that comes with winning. This is especially true when the victor comes from a disadvantage to pull off the win. It is one thing when your favorite team pulls off a win. It is even better when you are a contributing member of the winning team. Personal victories are exponentially more gratifying than all the others. There can only be one winner in any competition.  For some, the thrill and glory of victory compels the athlete to dedicate their entire life to a particular sport. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus, I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NKJV)

As much as we love to win there are times that we must accept defeat. Sure, there may be a trophy for second or third place. There may be a participation trophy just for showing up. There is a joke about second place being a euphemism for the first loser. It is comforting to know that God never loses. We can be on a team with guaranteed victory. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11 NKJV) “Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. The LORD has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” (Psalms 98:1-3 NKJV)

Salvation is God’s victory. This was demonstrated through the embodiment of His Son just as Isaiah prophesied. “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” (Matthew 12:18-21 NKJV)

To obtain the crown of salvation we must yet be victorious over death. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:53-57 NKJV)

Faith in Jesus is the key to winning the battle against Satan. While Satan can tempt us to sin, it is Jesus who ultimately holds the keys to the realm of the dead and to death itself. (Revelation 1:18) “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:1-5 NKJV)

KEN FLEEMAN (02/27/2022)

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