PASTOR'S PEN: Victor over defeat

It’s the third quarter of a tight game when Joe was given the ball. A high school player who enjoyed the time with friends as a member of the team, he didn’t always get the ball, but this time it was his turn. The handoff was perfect, but Joe didn’t hang onto the ball. He let it slip from his hands and onto the field. A member of the opposite team jumped on top of it, setting them up for another touchdown and a shift in momentum. Joe was devastated. His clumsy move had just lost his team the lead. They were all pretty aggravated and Joe felt horrible.

Then came the fourth quarter. Somehow, Joe’s team rallied back. They scored three unanswered touchdowns and won the game. The crowd went crazy and the team joyously sung their school song. No one remembered Joe’s faulty play. No one cast Joe aside when they did their victory chant. Though he had little to do with the victory itself and could have easily been labeled the cause of a defeat had it happened, now was a time of celebration and the faults of the past, though learning experiences, were forgotten. It was time to rejoice over a win!

Many times in our Christian lives we look at the sin and disappointment we’ve caused and think, "God could never use someone like me. Look at all I’ve done wrong. I might as well just give up." But we must remember something — there is victory in Jesus. We can celebrate the win! It’s easy to feel depressed, hopeless and dejected for the way we messed up in life, but Christ came to eliminate that and allow us to rejoice in Him. Romans 7:24-25 summarizes it this way:

"Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." (New Living Translation)

Yes, I am a sinner and make horrible plays in life. I drop the ball. I don’t put in the effort I should. I skip practice. I run the wrong way. I even score for the opposing team. But Jesus Christ comes and makes up for all my mistakes and there is a victorious win! He wipes out all those past wrongs and allows me to celebrate with Him for a win I truly had nothing to do with.

When you feel depressed, worthless, hopeless and like you’ve lost at life. Remember this from 1 Corinthians 15:54-58, "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? ... Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore ... stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Learn from your mistakes and celebrate the victory!